The Aldermanic Affairs Committee of the New Haven Board of Alders approved four appointments to the city’s boards and commissions at a meeting on Monday night.
In keeping with its monthly schedule, the committee held a public appointment hearing at City Hall to review seven recent appointments made by Mayor Toni Harp. Of the seven nominees, four were approved and one was temporarily held up, while two were postponed due to the candidates’ absence. All five appointees who came before the committee, however, will still have to go through a second round of review before officially obtaining the positions.
“There is a first reading and a second reading,” Ward 13 Alder Rosa Santana, chair of the committee, said in an interview with the News. “They are all going through their first reading.”
The five appointees underwent brief questioning from the five alders on the committee about their relevant experience, availability for board meetings and possible conflicts of interests. The hearing proceeded smoothly, without much wrangling over the appointees’ qualifications or fitness to serve.
Four of the five appointees are new to their respective committees. The fifth appointee, Carolyn Scott, is an incumbent on the Aging Committees who was reappointed for another term. Alders at the meeting expressed broad approval for her work so far on the committee.
Scott told the committee it has been a valuable “hands-on learning” experience to identify the needs of the elderly and advocate on their behalf while working with other committee members to overcome their differences.
“You can’t agree with everything, but that’s the point of making a committee,” she said. “You hash out different scenarios and find what’s best for everyone involved.”
Douglas Losty was appointed to the Fair Rent Commission after the mayor withdrew an earlier appointment to the Historic District Commission. Ward 24 Alder Evette Hamilton said a withdrawal often occurs when the appointee signals a wish to sit on a different committee.
During the hearing, Losty noted that he has three decades of advocacy experience in the area of affordable housing and has served as the president of the Greater New Haven Property Owners Association since 2002. He said he believes the shortage of affordable housing is the main problem besetting New Haven and that addressing the shortage will be the focus of his tenure on the Fair Rent Commission.
Andrew Orefice’s appointment to the New Haven Parking Authority Board and Anne Stone’s appointment to the Board of Zoning were also approved by the committee.
But Ernest Pagan’s appointment to the City Plan Commission was moved to the second round of review with a mark of “no recommendation” because there was no vacancy on the commission.
“There are only four members allowed on the commission. Someone will have to drop off for us to appoint him on, but we do not who that person is or when,” Hamilton said. “So we can move him forward, but we cannot appoint him when there is no opening as yet.
Although most appointments expire in January, February and June, Santana told the News, the committee holds hearings every month in order to spread out the caseload over the year.
Malcolm Tang | firstname.lastname@example.org