Watchdog Becomes Spokeswoman

Laurel Leff PhotoFor the 12th time Mayor John DeStefano has named a new spokesperson. The new appointee is Anna Mariotti.

Mariotti, who said she’s “in my 30s,” started the $68,000-a-year job Monday. She replaces Elizabeth Benton, who stepped down late in 2012 after just a year in the job. DeStefano has cycled through 11 spokespeople since taking office 1994; one of them, Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, filled the job twice.

Mariotti has been serving as chair of the Democracy Fund, which administers the city’s public-financing program for mayoral candidates. DeStefano helped create the Democracy Fund, then dropped out of the program after its board took critical stances of his campaign’s record-keeping. In July 2011, Mariotti moved to have the Democracy Fund investigate the DeStefano campaign. (The motion failed.)

Before taking the spokeswoman’s job, Mariotti resigned from her unpaid Democracy Fund post. Continuing in both roles “would have been a conflict,” she noted.

That leaves the Democracy Fund without a quorum.

“I guess we’ll be looking to make an appointment [the to Fund’s board] soon then,” mayoral Chief of Staff Sean Matteson said Monday.

“I’m confident” that a quorum will be restored by early February, Mariotti said. “My spot will be easy to fill because I’m a Democrat.” She said that she and other Fund board members tried to find volunteers to fill the non-Democratic slots. “It wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be,” she said.

Matteson noted that Mariotti lives in New Haven and has been involved in community affairs. For instance, she has served as president of the City Point Historic District Neighborhood Association. She worked for Hartford’s City Council staff from 1998-2002; she subsequently did stints with the United Way and a community group called Hartford Areas Rally Together.

“She had a great mix of some legislative and local government background, as well as organizing. She’ll make a great addition to the team,” Matteson said.

Mariotti said she hopes to explore including “more grassroots residents” in government through social media and “raise the profile” of “what New Haven has done. A lot of amazing things have happened in New Haven.”

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posted by: Dwightstreeter on January 7, 2013  10:27pm

Anna will be a real asset to the City, as she was to the Democracy Fund. She will be missed.