Rob Brule Takes Over as New Selectman


Maya Desai

Rob Brule grew up in Waterford. He went to Great Neck before attending Clark Lane and Waterford High School. He served as class president at WHS, setting a precedent for his leadership roles in the community. In the 2019 election, Brule won the race for First Selectman by over 600 votes in order to become the first new selectman in years after Dan Stewart’s 14 year hold on the post. Forefront issues in the election included economic development, a plan for how to deal with the closure of retail in the mall, and the potential effects if Millstone closes in the coming years.   

On his first day of office, Brule switched the planning director’s position to the economic development director in order to create a position to focus solely on expanding the economic prospects of Waterford. He considers one of his strengths meeting with business leaders, evidenced by his new Business and Hospitality Committee, composed of himself, the Director of Economic Development, public works, and the police. The goal is to meet with new businesses, welcome them to Waterford, and provide support to new business leaders. 

Waterford has a myriad of services that are provided by the town. Garbage and recycling is picked up every week, there is a community center and library, and many public parks and beaches. All of these amenities cost money to run. When asked about taxes, Brule asked “what do you want to cut?”. Taxes are needed in order to pay teachers; first responders, such as the police; and other essential employees. However, a main goal for him is to do more with less by reallocating funds and leveling funding. 

A key part of his plan for his term is human connections and accessibility. Brule described his style as customer service and has already started to create a social media platform that posts positive events happening in Waterford. His goal is to be in touch with the town and be available to the people he serves. His dedication to his constituents was evident when interviewed, saying “you three are the most important people right now.” He coached soccer for many years at Waterford High School and believes that experience taught him how to connect to kids. In addition, working as director of operations at a brain rehabilitation center gave him the experience of managing large scale operations and employees. 

A major concern in Waterford is the potential of Millstone’s closing and the effects it would have on the local economy. However, Brule does not share this worry, seeing the glass as half full. He explained that he doesn’t believe there isn’t any other energy source to compete with in the area. However, Waterford has been putting aside one million dollars each year for the past five years in order to offset the loss of revenue if Millstone closed. Brule expressed his desire to continue this practice while also mentioning the possibility of a special study or committee. 

Coupled with the potential of Millstone’s closing is the fear surrounding the loss of retail, particularly at the Crystal Mall. Stores such as Sears have left with the rise of online retail, disrupting the taxes collected by the town from the mall properties. Brule’s plan for the mall is to bring more housing to the area to make it easier for people to the mall. He mentioned an idea for ‘work-force housing’ along 85, citing the need for affordable housing and the space needed to provide an uncrowded environment. Brule also expressed his desire to support the businesses at the mall, while also mentioning that the land is privately owned and that the town has no control over the leases on the property. 

No matter one’s political view or preferred outcome in the recent election, it is clear that Waterford has an elected leader with great pride for the town and a dedication to help his constituents. Brule clearly expresses great enthusiasm for his new responsibilities along with his desire to lead Waterford.