Michael Handler, Stamford’s director of administration since 2012, is stepping down from that position on Friday.
“Mike has done a phenomenal job managing the city’s financial operations,” Mayor David Martin said in a statement. “His strong work ethic and enthusiasm will be missed. I wish him the very best.”
The mayor said several candidates are already under consideration as Handler’s replacement, and that he will name an interim director shortly.
“I cannot express how proud I am of all that we have accomplished over the past eight years,” Handler said in the statement. “I am truly grateful to Mayor Martin for the opportunity, and am confident that the city is in a terrific position. I will surely miss working alongside terrific people and knowing that our collective efforts truly make a difference.”
Handler said he was leaving the post to spend more time with his family, and that he had no other job lined up. He reportedly made about $170,000 a year in the position.
First appointed Stamford’s director of administration by then-Mayor Michael Pavia in 2012, Handler was reappointed by Martin the following year.
Martin said that Handler helped improve the overall financial health of the city; led the financial, operational and environmental turnaround of its Water Pollution Control Authority; and was instrumental in a deal to keep the Smith House nursing home, once owned by the city, open. Handler also helped negotiate difficult labor contracts and was a leader of the combined city and Board of Education effort to improve school buildings, Martin said.
A New Canaan resident, Handler entered the last gubernatorial race as a Republican in 2017, suspending his campaign several months later. Businessman Bob Stefanowski ultimately won the Republican nomination, losing the 2018 election to Ned Lamont.