The Obit For Stan Pac

Former New Britain Mayor Stanley Pac Dies

By Maryellen Fillo
The Hartford Courant
September 22, 2012

One of New Britain's most well-known and empowered Democratic politicos, Stanley Pac, died Friday. He was 89.

Considered a stalwart Democrat in a city well-known for its gritty politics and strong Polish population, Pac served as mayor from 1971 to 1975, before being tapped by Gov. Ella Grasso to be commissioner of what was then the Department of Environmental Services.

A keen political strategist, Pac — nicknamed "Mr. New Britain" — also served two terms as a state representative and one as a state senator. His colleagues in the Senate voted him the most effective speaker and best researcher. During his Senate term, he was elected mayor of New Britain in 1972.

In 1983, he was named Man of the Year by the Polish American Business and Professional Association.

"He was popular with the Polish community but cared about all of New Britain," said former Mayor Bill McNamara, who credited Pac with getting him involved in city politics. "He was all about the people of his city.

"No matter how small a problem a citizen might be having, Stanley addressed it," added McNamara. "He was a good mayor."

After winning a second term as Mayor, Pac was selected by Grasso as commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles in 1975. Both Grasso and later Gov. William O'Neill appointed him environmental commissioner, a post in which he served for more than 10 years.

Daniel C. Esty, now the commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said Pac "had a long and distinguished career in public service, working on behalf of the people of his beloved city of New Britain and for the well-being of the people of our entire state."

In an interview a year ago with the New Britain City Journal, Pac shared some memories of his political past.

"As Mayor my salary was $16,000. We had a recession in 1974 and I was trying to get the heads of each agency to not get raises. They didn't want to go along with that," recalled Pac. "To help; I cut my salary by $5,000. I wanted to keep the tax rate reasonable."

He found another way to keep taxes reasonable for residents even though he received threatening letters from the state for doing so.

"I kept property under-assessed so people could pay low taxes," he said.
How did he do that?

By not re-assessing homes.

"I refused to assess up to the 19th year and it was supposed to be done every 10 years," Pac said. "I got threatening letters from the state tax collector telling us to re-assess each year. I carried it to 19th year to keep taxes low."

He said it kept prices on houses low so a lot of people bought houses in New Britain. With so many house purchases, it kept enough money coming that it was not necessary to raise the mill rate or re-assess.

Pac was also always there for residents. During one snowstorm he received a phone call around 8 p.m. from a woman on Silver St. complaining that the snow plows plowed her in.

"I put a shovel in my car and went and shoveled her out myself," said Pac. "How many mayors would do that?"

Perhaps his biggest fight involved downtown property that now houses the New Britain Superior Court and One Liberty Square. The state wanted to take that property for housing.
"The previous mayor promised them land and it was a disaster," Pac said. "I said, 'Look I'll give you any kind of housing, but not on the best land we have in the city.' I stayed firm."
The state took him to court and Pac won.
"Now we get $1 million on taxes for that property," he stated. "I gave them land on Slater Road."

Pac was the second youngest in a family that included eight children, all born in New Britain. His father and mother emigrated to the United States from Poland before World War I.

As a student at New Britain High School, Pac was a baseball star, breaking the previous batting record with a .406. After serving in World War II as a Marine Air Corps turret gunner in the Solomons, he received big-league baseball contract offers from the Boston Braces and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pac, who still carried a trace of malaria from his service in the South Pacific, worked only one year in professional baseball with the Braves' farm team, the Miami Beach Flamingos.

Flags in New Britain have been lowered to half staff.

The funeral is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Burritt Hill Funeral Home, 332 Burritt St., New Britain, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery.

Calling hours will be Monday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Burritt Hill Funeral Home. Memorial donations may be made to the Daughters of Mary, c/o Mother Jennifer, 532 Burritt St., New Britain, CT 06053 or American Warrior, P.O. Box 337, 35 Main St., Versailles, CT 06383.