New Haven’s alders last week received the list of committees they will serve on, almost one month into the their new two-year terms.
On Jan. 22, Ward 1 Alder Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 was assigned to the Aldermanic Affairs and Education committees, while Yale’s other representative, Ward 22 Alder Jeanette Morrison, will remain on the Finance and Legislation committees. Before Catalbasoglu became alder, he told the News he assumed the minority leader position would give him the opportunity to serve on whichever committees he wanted. But once he joined the board and decided to caucus with the Democrats — effectively ceding his claim to the minority leader position — the choice was no longer in his hands.
Still, Catalbasoglu will have the opportunity to serve on the Education committee, where he hopes to enact legislation that will allow student members on the Board of Education to vote.
“Students know the ins and outs of their schools,” he said. “Why shouldn’t their representatives be given voting privileges?”
In addition to working for student representation, Catalbasoglu said, he hopes to expand the English-as-a-second-language programs for the youth of New Haven, saying that he knows firsthand how difficult it can be to adjust to American culture when English is not your first language.
According to Ward 7 Alder Abigail Roth ’90 LAW ‘94, incoming alders had to rank their committee preferences from one to ten in December, and Democratic leadership took those rankings into account when making committee assignments. Each committee has a chair and vice-chair — generally senior members of the Board of Alders — who direct and lead the meetings.
Although there are several new alders on the board, the top two positions for each committee hardly changed. Of the ten committees, only three — Aldermanic Affairs, Human Services and Legislation — changed chair leadership.
Roth, who was assigned to the City Services and Environmental Policy, Human Services and Public Safety committees, told the News she was excited about her assignments.
“They all deal with really important issues facing the city,” she said.
Though each of the alders is assigned to specific committees, they are always allowed and encouraged to attend other meetings.
“In addition to [the Aldermanic Affairs and Education committees], I am looking forward to attending the Legislation and Finance committees whenever I get the chance,” Catalbasoglu said.
Roth has a similar plan, saying that she plans to attend Finance Committee meetings, particularly during budget season, when there are many public hearings and workshops.
The next full Board of Alders meeting will be on Feb. 5.
Ashna Gupta | email@example.com