Jackie James Gets City Hall Deputy Post
by Paul Bass | Jan 2, 2014 8:33 am
New Haven’s new mayor said she’s filling a deputy’s job—which opens three other political positions in the process.
Mayor Toni Harp said after her inauguration Wednesday that she has chosen Jackie James for the slot, deputy community services administrator.
“I’m honored that [Harp] asked me to take this position. This is my life’s work,” James, a state social worker for 15 years, said at the post-inauguration celebration in the Career High cafeteria Wednesday. “I’m ready to work with the public” on issues affecting young people, the homeless, and health care.
“I’ve been a supervisor” and, in addition to her state job, has worked closely with constituents as a city alderwoman, James said.
The current deputy community services administrator, Ron Manning, is to step into the role of acting community services administrator. The administrator is one of the top “coordinator” appointments in City Hall, now requiring approval by the Board of Alders under a change in the charter.
(Update: Harp said Friday James hasn’t yet assumed the post officially because some “administrative hurdles” remain to be cleared. She would not elaborate. Cherlyn Poindexter of the city administrators’ union, AFSCME Local 3144, said she had no comment on whether she had personally signed off on James taking the position, which the union said needs to happen under its contract because the position falls under civil service.)
As a result of the Harp appointment, James (pictured) has submitted her resignation as alderwoman from Ward 3 in the Hill. She sat in the audience rather than on stage with other members of the Board of Alders as they took the oath at Career High School Wednesday for their new terms in office. A special election is to be held within 45 days to fill the Ward 3 seat, which James has held since 2001.
James’ new job also means she is no longer seeking the 10th State Senate District seat, which Harp is vacating as she takes over the mayor’s job. A special election for that seat will take place in late February or in March. James’ departure from the race leaves only one known candidate, current state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield.
Finally, James’ new position means she will not run for reelection as chair of the Democratic Town Committee. The election for that position takes place in March. Vincent Mauro Jr. is considered a frontrunner for the job. “It would be honor” to become town chair, Mauro, whose late father once held the post, said Wednesday.
Jackie James said her resignation as alderwoman took effect Dec. 30. “I still have a political future,” she added.
Mayor Harp is hoping to lure an early-childhood-learning expert with whom worked with at the state level, and who has since moved to Georgia, to return to Connecticut to serve as her permanent community services administrator; read more about that in this story by the New Haven Register’s Mary O’Leary.
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What ever happened with the various community benefit agreements (CBA) that James helped negotiate with the Hospital? Didn’t James get a fund to help neighbors in her Ward fix up their homes? An investigation into where those went would be useful, as there are clearly opportunities for conflicts of interest or ethics issues here. People within the Unions are always complaining that the agreement, initially cited as a national model by some, wasn’t enforced. Other than helping to delay construction and thousands of jobs in order to win the CBA, what role did she play?
Oh I get it. Jackie gets rewarded and Gary’s throat isn’t cut in the Senate race.
Ms. James is well deserving of such a task.
Mr. Holder-Winfield must be pretty relieved right about now. However, it is my hope that others will penetrate through the wood work and step up to run for Toni’s vacant seat.
The idea that a political opportunist like Holder-Windfield, who’s fought no wars at all in the city, should in some way acquire this seat through attrition, will be injurious.
Individuals such as Jaun Candalaria, Toni Walker, Darnell Goldson or even lessor known persons who’ve been serving the community in exemplary fashions, should in my view be recognized ahead of Holder.
Nothing personal, just political.
Brian Jenkins, if Toni Walker won, wouldn’t that mean that New Haven would be losing both of its Appropriations Committee chairpersons this year?
Would our former Mayor consider a run?
Although the appointment of Jackie James smacks of political patronage at the highest level, Ms. James, is well qualified and experienced in the area of human welfare, her long term (15 yr+)experience at the local and state level bear out this fact. If Mayor Harp wants to be truly inclusive and diversive, she might renew her pledge to balance more equally her gender appointments over that shown to date.
There is no need to perform a national search for another female when the most experienced and dedicated person for the job resides here in New Haven, that person is Ron Manning. Mr. Manning has served under no less than six CSA during his service, in fact he has basically run the department whether the position was filled or not.
Mayor Harp is hoping to lure an early-childhood-learning expert with whom worked with at the state level, and who has since moved to Georgia, to return to Connecticut to serve as her permanent community services administrator; I recommend Mr. Manning for serious consideration.
I thought that deputy positions were civil service, not mayoral appointments. If so, what about the people who went through the proper process only to be bypassed?
Am I wrong? What are the rules governing this?
Not all deputy positions are civil service. A select few are even union protected, such as Ron Manning’s. Curious to see how this plays out subsequent to hiring a permanent CSA since only one deputy CSA is budgeted unless Manning is appointed.