NEW CANAAN — A veteran on the town’s workings has been named to head the Department of Public Works.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi confirmed on Nov. 18 that Tiger Mann, who has worked for the New Canaan for 17 years, was chosen out of a field of just under 10 candidates.

“We interviewed eight or nine people for the position who came from various different industries and municipalities,” said Mallozzi. “We spent most of the day Wednesday interviewing. Upon completion it was very clear to me and committee that Tiger Mann stood out from those other applicants.”

A selection committee comprised of Mallozzi, Town Council Chairman Bill Walbert, Director of Human Resources Cheryl Pickering-Jones, Administrative Officer Tom Stadler and Town Hall Building Committee Chairman Michael Avgerinos undertook the task of finding a replacement for Michael Pastore, who will retire at the end of the year.

Mann was approved by the Board of Selectmen at their Nov. 22 meeting.

“Tiger’s 17 years of service to the town, customer service, work ethic, knowledge of the inner workings of the town all were very much desirable to us and shone through during interviews,” Mallozzi said.

For Mann, there was no doubt at all as to whether he’d stay in town once Pastore’s retirement was announced.

“It means a lot to get the job. It’s the only town that I wanted to work in. The public works community kind of exploded over the past year or two. There were about nine or 10 director positions that were open and I didn’t put in for any of them because this is the one that I wanted,” Mann said from his office on Monday.

Mann, who was born in Hamden, first worked in New Canaan 20 years ago while working for a private consulting firm, along with Pastore, that was hired to construct New Canaan’s waste water plant. It was at that time that Mann got to know Frank DeNicola, who at that time was the Director of Public Works. Three years later, DeNicola asked Mann to come on board as senior engineer.

“It seemed like a nice town and a nice opportunity at the time so I took it,” Mann said.

Both Mann and Mallozzi commended Pastore for his service.

“Mike’s been fantastic. He’s been a great mentor. It’s a loss for the town. I wish him well in retirement but it stinks that he’s leaving,” Mann said.

According to Mallozzi, five years ago, when he became First Selectman, Pastore was on the verge of retiring. Mallozzi, however, protested and Pastore wound up staying longer than he expected.

“It’s a great loss for me and for the town. Mike is certainly one of the most likable employees this town has. He is a father figure and mentor to so many who have worked underneath him for 17 years. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and a wonderful ability to listen. He will be greatly missed,” Mallozzi said.

Mann said that, when he does take over the department, he’ll draw on the example set by Pastore.

“It’s hard, Mike’s are big shoes to fill. Then I got to figure out how to staff the office. I’ve got to sit down with Rob and sit down with mike and see what’s best for the town moving forward,” Mann said. “I think we provide a great service to the town. I think there’s always room for improvements but I don’t look at changing much. The town’s got great bones, as they say. Our job is really not to change the nature of the town but to maintain it and make sure people are happy to live here and work here and play here.; @justinjpapp1