Come March 29, someone other than Andy Rizzo will decide whether buildings must come down in New Haven.
Rizzo (pictured) has been checking out fire scenes for the past 13 years as New Haven’s building official, then making the call about whether torched edifices are too far gone ever to be inhabited safely.
He has decided to retire. His last day at work is March 28.
“I decided that it was time. I have to take the next step in my life—I’m going to take a retirement with the city work part time, do a little consulting, a little time for myself and my family,” Rizzo, who’s 66, said Monday afternoon.
Rizzo began working for New Haven government as an assistant building inspector back in November of 1990. He left in 1993 to become North Branford’s building official, then spent five years in Windsor. He returned to New Haven’s government in April 1999. For seven years he served simultaneously as building official and as head of the Livable City Initiative, government’s neighborhood anti-blight agency.
His most recent calls came last Friday, when New Haven had two pre-dawn fires. He decided that one of the torched buildings, on Grand Avenue, had to come down, which it did on Saturday. He’s been advising the owner of the other building, on Ellsworth Avenue, on how to repair it so it can be reoccupied.
“I loved it,” Rizzo said of his tenure with the city. “I loved going to my job every day. The people. The issues that were dealt with—some good, some bad, some easy. In the long run, I think I helped contribute to the positive effect on the city that the mayor has advocated so many years.”
He said his deputy, Daniel O’Neill, will succeed him on an interim basis until the city hires a permanent replacement.
A $50-a-ticket farewell party for Rizzo will take place at Anthony’s Ocean View from 6 to 10 p.m. on March 28. For details contact Bobbe Bellamy at 203-946-6127.