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Harp Tells First Wave Of Mayoral Appointees She Won’t Keep Them On

by Paul Bass | Dec 12, 2013 6:44 pm

(10) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: City Hall

Thomas MacMillan Photo Ten mayoral appointees learned Thursday that they won’t have City Hall jobs come Jan. 1. Another four learned that they will, if they’d like to stay.

That news came in the form of letters from Mayor-Elect Toni Harp.

Harp sent the letter to the 14 mayoral appointees whose terms expire Jan. 1 along with the City Hall career of their boss, retiring 10-term incumbent Mayor John DeStefano.

Harp (pictured speaking Thursday evening at an unrelated City Hall press conference) stressed that she was in no way intended to criticize the employees with the letter. Rather, she wanted to give them a timely head’s up.

“This is no way reflects their contribution to the people of New Haven or the manner in which they went about doing their job. I would like to commend Mayor DeStefano for the quality of his staff,” Harp told the Independent Thursday evening.

“I’m bringing in my own team. This is to be expected in a democracy where there are changes that are made. We’ve kept some people. There will probably be another round of those at the end of January when other terms expire.”

Harp asked the following appointees to stay on: Budget Director Joe Clerkin, Corporation Counsel Victor Bolden, and mayoral aides Patricia Lawlor and Bianca Bowles.

Thomas MacMillan Photo Harp informed the following appointees that she will not reappoint them: City Administrative Officer Rob Smuts, human services chief Althea Brooks, Development Administrator Kelly Murphy, legislative liaisons Matthew Smith, prison reentry coordinator Eric Rey, mayoral spokesman Anna Mariotti, Chief of Staff Sean Matteson, mayoral aides Rosemarie Lemley, Rebecca Bombero and Maria Cruz.

A number of those officials had already planned to leave City Hall and are in the process of lining up other jobs. Lemley, who has worked in City Hall for 30 years, has long said she would retire when DeStefano leaves.

Harp has publicly praised Bombero’s work, singling out her and Police Chief Dean Esserman during the mayoral campaign when asked which appointees she would like to keep on board. Harp said Thursday that she does want to explore keeping Bombero in City Hall in another position.

The terms of other top officials—like Livable City Initiative chief Erik Johnson and Fire Chief Michael Grant—do not expire until February.

Former Board of Aldermen President Tom├ís Reyes is expected to serve as Harp’s chief of staff. (Read about that here.) Laurence Grotheer is in line to become mayoral spokesman, and former Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Nemerson, Harp’s development chief.

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posted by: cedarhillresident! on December 12, 2013  7:33pm

I actually feel a bit of a heart ache. Many of the 10 have been their for me or for my community. They have become part of our lives. I am sending out an heart felt I will miss you and a big thank you.

Sean was the first city employee that got me active when I called the mayor looking for help with a child support issue. He was the one to call me back and was genuine and helpful in telling me to get more active to change things…because of him I became an active citizen. TY for your inspiration.

Rob ALWAYS returned my calls with issues and ALWAYS helped with them. ALWAYS! Weather it was a missing blue bin, pot holes, or chemical plant. TY for being a true help to my community. (I personally thought that Rob would make a good mayor)

Becky has always took the time out at BOF meetings to explain finance things that I did not understand. She is an amazing and active community member kind of shocked at this one. Becky TY for being you. And I do hope Harp rethinks that.

Maria, I never really met but when ever I called to bother JD and got her on the phone…she was able to help me and send me to the right dept. with a kindness I truly appreciated.

Glad Bianca is staying on she is a gem

and Matt you are and have been part of Cedar Hill and have been there for Cedar Hill not sure if they know what a treasure they have. TY

Anna, TY for keeping us all informed with what was going on in the city. You made sure to tap into all forms of tech to keep the people included. TY

No matter what side of the fight we are on we are all in it to make this city a better place. Good Luck to each of you. HUGS

posted by: Michaela on December 12, 2013  7:37pm

Anybody got one of those back scratchers?  My back itches.

posted by: jepadilla on December 12, 2013  8:48pm

Very sorry to learn Althea Brooks will not be retained.  She’s been excellent, has provided leadership to CSA’s efforts, and accomplished more in her short tenure than her predecessors did over longer periods of time.

posted by: cp06 on December 12, 2013  10:57pm

So who is staying?

posted by: Hill Resident on December 13, 2013  1:27am

As a citizen of New Haven, I want to thank all those who are named in the article that are not being retained by the new Mayor, that I appreciate your service to the City, the residents and me. I have interacted with many of you (Victor, Bianca, Rob, Sean, Rebecca, Matt) and I thank you for your dedication to service to the City and its residents. I wish all who are about to embark on new employment, good luck, and to those that are staying ... keep up the good work.

posted by: Threefifths on December 13, 2013  9:52am

Wake up people.The same old dinosaur fossil politicians are coming back.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on December 13, 2013  10:50am

Humongous Thank You to Rob Smuts. Your time here will be lasting and remembered!

posted by: AndyH on December 13, 2013  1:31pm

Rob Smuts is my friend, so I am biased—but one of the reasons I am proud to call him my friend is that I have some sense of how hard he’s worked, over many years, on behalf of our city. Many of Rob’s responsibilities are those where, if he does his job well, most of us never have any idea what he’s up to. People like Rob, in other words, have let us take for granted that the city’s essential tasks will function smoothly. That’s a big deal, so thank you, Rob, for your service.

posted by: ohnonotagain on December 14, 2013  10:54am

These removals and retaining some are common play and should be expected. I will say this…..the one person that I interacted with a lot over quite a few years during my employment at the city (before I retired) and after my retirement pertaining to city business was Sean Matteson. I had to admire his loyalty to not only the mayor (although I wasn’t a big supporter of John for the last maybe 8-10 years)but to the city itself. I found Sean always respectful and helpful to residents and to me. He seemed somewhat reserved and almost shy but not so when it came to getting things done. I am sure he will find another employer who will see his value and I hope he stays in New Haven because he is a real asset to the community. So to you Sean Matteson…..THANK YOU!

posted by: Captain Harlock on December 15, 2013  5:29pm

These positions aren’t supposed to be lifelong careers.

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