Following an emotional announcement and several bittersweet goodbyes, Ward 23 Alderwoman Joyce Poole left City Hall as a policy-maker for the last time Monday night and added her name to the growing list of city legislators who have resigned their posts in the last year.
Poole’s decision to leave the 30-member Board of Aldermen, which she disclosed to board President Jorge Perez in a letter last week, comes just weeks before New Haven’s Nov. 6 general election. In her announcement, Poole cited a need to spend more time with her family and pursue her career, Perez said yesterday.
Poole was not available for comment Tuesday.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said Tuesday night he was sad to see Poole go.
“I’ve known Joyce for some time,” he said. “She’s one of the hardest-working alderpersons on the board.”
Poole’s name will remain on the Nov. 6 ballot unless she officially notifies the city clerk’s office of her departure. DeStefano said yesterday he did not know if she had done so, but would look into appointing an interim alderman as soon as he received word the resignation was official.
If a member of the board resigns less than six months before the end of his term, the mayor may choose an interim replacement from a list of three names handed to him by the local Ward Committee of the same party as the outgoing alderman.
Poole is also on the Ward Committee in Ward 23, the body within each ward that nominates aldermanic candidates. Town Democratic Chairman Nick Balletto said Tuesday he had not heard whether the committee had looked into appointing a new alderman.
Poole, who served as alderwoman for a total of three two-year terms, represented Ward 23 most recently after her predecessor, Alvis D. Brooker, was forced to resign in 1999 because of a rare liver disease. She had previously served two terms in the ward before Brooker took office in 1993.
Perez, who has served 14 years on the board, said last night he understood Poole’s decision but knew she would be sorely missed.
“Being an alderman is just not as nice as people think it is,” Perez said. “I’m not complaining — it’s just not that glamorous.”
Perez said he thought Poole was “not really all that excited” when Brooker asked her to represent the ward for a third term in 1999.
“But she did, passionately” Perez said. “It was nice working with her. She spoke for people who normally wouldn’t have people speaking for them.”
Perez cited Poole’s work on breast cancer and AIDS issues. Poole manages the AIDS Interfaith Network and is married to Jerry Poole, executive director of the Greater New Haven Opportunities Industrialization Center.
As a husband-and-wife team, the two worked many hours to revitalize New Haven’s once-blighted Dwight and West River districts and secured state funding for that purpose.
“I’m sure she’ll still be involved,” Perez said of Poole. “She’s not leaving the city like some of my other colleagues.”
This past year, four other aldermen have simply resigned — from Wards 2, 7, 9 and 18 — and another, Julio Gonzalez ’99, who resigned his post in Ward 1 to manage DeStefano’s re-election campaign.
While Perez said the number of resignations this past year was “higher than usual,” he did not think anything was amiss.
“When I came in for my first term, there were 17 new aldermen on the board,” he said. “Every couple of years, people move on. It happens.”