Reyes In Line For Top Harp Job

Thomas MacMillan PhotoVeteran Latino political leader Tomas Reyes is the leading contender to serve as chief of staff to Toni Harp.

Reyes (pictured) and Harp have a close working relationship dating back to the late 1980s, when Reyes served as president of the Board of Aldermen. Harp served for a time as the board’s president pro tem (number two in aldermanic leadership). She worked closely with Reyes on a cutting-edge citywide homeless plan, among other initiatives.

An announcement of the chief of staff appointment is not expected before next week. The position, the mayor’s top aide, oversees City Hall staff and serves as point person for the mayor on both policy and political matters.

Reyes, who is 62, said he “would be honored to serve” iin the job. He said that Connecticut Mental Health Center, where he currently works (also as chief of staff), has agreed to grant him a leave of absence if Harp were to appoint him.

“I’ve known Toni for a long time,” and admire her commitment to helping the poor, Reyes said.

Reyes spoke Wednesday of Harp’s “knowledge of city issues, her commitment to working with everyone—including people who are disadvantaged, who we have to work together to bring into the mainstream, which I believe government should be all about.”

“It’s always been a dream of mine to get city government more responsive to people in need,” Reyes said.

Paul Bass PhotoReyes joined other Latino leaders in endorsing Harp’s mayoral candidacy in June. (He is pictured above speaking at a Sept. 23 Harp campaign rally in Wooster Square.) He has extensive political relationships both in New Haven and statewide, and has chaired the statewide Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus.

Other anticipated possible Harp appointments include Laurence Grotheer, her state Senate spokesman, as City Hall spokesman; and former Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Nemerson (also a former mayoral candidate who ended up endorsing Harp) as development administrator.

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 11, 2013  6:31pm

I told all of you.The Old Guard will be back.They are digging up the old Fossils.Night of the living dead. Keep voting them in.

posted by: getyourfactstraight on December 12, 2013  11:31am

Good luck Tommy! Through past the years that I had served on the BOA with you I do know you have excellent leadership skills. Wishing you well and a bright future in whatever endeavor you pursue whether appointed to this top position or something other.

posted by: Razzie on December 12, 2013  11:35am

Reyes would be an excellent appointment that would be consistent with Mayor-elect Harp’s plan to bridge all the divides that have plagued our city’s efforts. A unified black and Hispanic community can work wonders to truly empower New Haven’s citizens and bring about real grass roots change.

Bravo Toni! Another great pick.

posted by: Indigo on December 12, 2013  3:30pm

Reyes doesn’t live in New Haven, hasn’t been involved in grassroots work here for years. Kind of like Toni Harp.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on December 12, 2013  3:32pm

I’m very glad to see that Mayor-elect Harp is creating a diverse group of people to work with her.  It’s very important that all communities feel they have someone who can represent their interest and whom they can talk to.  This just affirms how dynamic she is and the administration she wants to create.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on December 12, 2013  7:29pm

It’s a no brainier for Toni to install Thomas.  We’re talking about someone who is trustworthy, unbiased and understands the importance of relationship building. In essence, this brother knows how to get it done.

So far Toni is making all the right moves with Ed Joyner and potentially Thomas Reyes.

There’s still much work to be done in the areas of public safety.  Lt. Gary Tinney would be a tremendous person to install as Fire Chief.

With regards to the Police Department, Esserman seem to be addressing issues with respect to the pro-active aspect of community based policing. However, should the uproar from the community contradict my findings and ask for his removal, then I suggest the new mayor take a look at Officer Kenny Howell.

Finally, I would hope that Toni would consider revamping the Youth Services Bureau and make it more attentive to the needs of children in some of your high crime areas in the city. To not do this, the city will create a perpetual feeding system to the gang, truancy and dropout rate city-wide.

posted by: anonymous on December 12, 2013  8:56pm

Are all top picks still required to live within city limits? Who monitors that?

posted by: cedarhillresident! on December 13, 2013  1:26pm

I feel a song coming on

I to want to know…is he not suppose to live in New Haven…does he not live in Oxford??

posted by: citysavior on December 16, 2013  7:26pm

I believe that Reyes has more skills as the CCO than Adger does. Adger would make a better Chief of Staff. Does her pension stop if she is appointed ??