Karen Lin, Photo Editor

On Monday night, the Aldermanic Affairs Committee of the Board of Alders confirmed 11 appointments to various commissions in the city government.  

Candidates were appointed to commissions such as the Board of Ethics, which adopts rules and regulations for the administration of the city’s Code of Ethics; the Civil Service Board, which regulates employment within the city; the Commission on Equal Opportunity, which helps implement statutes prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing; and the Cultural Affairs Commission, which promotes the development of arts and cultural activities. 

The first potential appointee to speak was Nina Silva for the Commission of Disabilities. Silva has lived in the Dixwell neighborhood of New Haven her entire life. Silva noted that she has a 21-year-old son with Down Syndrome and said that she is interested in both learning more about legislative action and helping children with disabilities. 

Silva said she hopes that “parents do not have to go through what [she] went through, navigating PPT [Planning and Placement Team], IEP [Individualized Education Plan], and other programs.”

Ned Parker, an ordained pastor at the Yale Divinity School, was appointed to the Board of Ethics. Prior to living in New Haven, Parker lived in Seattle, where he interacted with marginalized community members due to his connection with the church. 

Carmen Mendez, a neighborhood specialist for New Haven, was appointed to the Homeless Advisory Commission. With a 34 year history in public service, she expressed her eagerness to “work with people who are compassionate, loving and understanding, and want to help people have a home.” 

When explaining her qualifications, Mendez recalled a story of a person experiencing homelessness who lived in Fair Haven. She was tasked with letting them know that they had to vacate the premises and to take their possessions out. However, upon arriving, she found that she did not have the heart to displace a person who could just as easily have been anyone else. Mendez said that the experience taught her of the importance of focusing on policy solutions to help those experiencing homelessness.

Leasley Negron was appointed to the Civil Service Board. She has a graduate degree in industrial organizational psychology with experience in creating and administering city employment exams, writing and managing policies and quality assurance. She has served on the board before and is looking forward to serving again, she said.

Kevin Diadimo was appointed to the Commission on Equal Opportunity. Having served in a variety of community service organizations, including the Democracy Fund and the City Planning Commission, he has a background in law as a practicing attorney for 20 years and currently works in the court system as a court administrator in criminal court.

Pamela Allen was appointed to the Commission on Equal Opportunity. Allen said that they had personal experience with homelessness and went from being unemployable to being employable. Her target population is primarily people whose income is 150 percent below the federal poverty level; she wants to give employers incentives to hire people within this population, as was previously done.

Hope Chavez, director of artistic planning at Long Wharf Theater, said she is passionate about creating pathways between artists and artistic institutions. Having been appointed to a prior short-term commission to start the cultural planning process, she is excited to deepen her commitment to public service, Chavez said.

Magaly Cajigas, who currently works for the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, was also appointed to the Cultural Affairs Commission. Born and raised in New Haven, she has always enjoyed any opportunities for arts or cultural enrichment. She believes that “arts and culture is something that everyone in our community should enjoy,” and is eager to serve in her new role, she said.

David Coon currently serves on the Cultural Affairs Commission and was reappointed for another three-year term. The first item on his agenda after reappointment is to ratify an updated set of Cultural Affairs Committee bylaws because the current one was ratified almost a full 30 years ago. 

Francesca Vignola and Reed Immer both currently serve on the Cultural Affairs Commission. They are eager to be reappointed so that they can continue to serve New Haven, they said.

Every presenter was appointed to their positions.

The Aldermanic Affairs Committee meets on the last Monday of every month at 6 p.m.

Maria Korolik is a staff reporter for the SciTech desk, covering astronomy, engineering, and computer science. Originally from San Jose, California, she is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards college majoring in mechanical engineering and astrophysics.