WEST HARTFORD — A group close to the former mayor has organized an event called "Thank you, Scott Slifka."
Slifka, 42, stepped down last month from his 12-year stint as the town's mayor — the longest-serving mayor in West Hartford. To recognize his service to the community, a group has organized a dinner and "roast, toast and boast" night to highlight Slifka's tenure.
"I think there was a sense that there are moments in history that are worth recognizing and a group of us started thinking about how important it was for us to mark this moment in time and recognize the service, Scott's service to the town and do it in a way that's fun and community-driven," said Jennifer Evans, West Hartford Community TV executive director and one of the organizers of the event.
Slifka had served as mayor of West Hartford since 2004 and was the city's youngest mayor when he took office at the age of 30. He was first elected to the town council in 2001.
While in office, Blue Back Square opened. He lobbied for power to be restored after an October 2011 snowstorm left many residents without power for more than a week. Recently, the council approved a more than 300-unit apartment complex at the Sisters of St. Joseph convent on Park Road.
He worked alongside 29 council members, had four deputy mayors, worked with three town managers, two town clerks and one corporation council. He said he served as mayor for 4,206 days.
In January, Slifka announced he would step down from the council and mayor role once the 2016-17 budget was adopted — after being named deputy general counsel of Lego Systems Inc. About a month later, a group of people formed a committee and started brainstorming ideas to recognize Slifka's tenure.
Evans, one of 11 on the planning committee, said the upcoming dinner and roast is an "opportunity for the entire community to celebrate [Slifka's] public service … in a fun way that celebrates the community and his community service."
The event is scheduled for June 22 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall, 50 Main St., West Hartford. Tickets are $35 each and available at www.whctv.org. Proceeds will go to West Hartford Community Television and The Town That Cares, a fund established by the Department of Human and Leisure Services to assist residents in crisis with food, utilities, shelter or medical expenses.
The night includes dinner and drinks donated by West Hartford restaurants, as well as the "roast, toast and boast" portion with a parody video similar to Slifka's favorite movie, "The Natural" and starring Slifka and current and former politicians from both sides of the aisle, Evans said. Attendees can also record a video message for Slifka.
Masters of ceremonies will be Jonathan Harris, state Department of Consumer Protection commissioner and former mayor and senator, and Art Spada, former deputy mayor.
Organizers are still seeking interested restaurant donors. Email John Paindiris at email@example.com for more information.
Slifka lives in West Hartford with his wife, Noelle, and daughter Betsy, a student at Duffy Elementary School.
Last month, after accepting Slifka's resignation, the council unanimously elected Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, 56, to the mayor's position, and Leon Davidoff, 53, as deputy mayor.