HELP WANTED: Two people to run budget-battered departments of a demoralized city government. Salary: Mid-to-high five figures.
Well, that wasn’t the real wording. The DeStefano Administration has begun advertising for two top positions now that its elderly services chief has left City Hall.
Darcey Cobbs (pictured) quietly handed in her resignation as head of the Elderly Services Department last month. The city has hired Dom Dimenstein, a retired longtime employee of the department, to run it for up to six month while a search proceeds for a permanent successor.
The city began advertising for the $59,178-a-year post in Sunday’s Register. Right below that ad was a notice for a new head of the Livable City Initiative , CIty Hall’s anti-blight agency. Andy Rizzo is expected to leave that job by the end of the year and stick with his other city job, chief building official. (Read about that here.) The LCI job’s salary ranges from $72,268 to $118,326, according to mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga.
Mayorga said the help-wanted ads are being placed with the following outlets and organizations, besides the Register and its affiliates: the Courant and its CareerBuilder.com; the American Planning Association of New York City and Connecticut; Craigslist; The New York Times plus its website and associated classifieds sites (like Monster); AfterCollege; Govtjobs.com; the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities; www.theleagueonline.org; and The Black Ivy Alumni League.
Wrestled With Controversy
Darcey Cobbs left her elderly services job weeks after the controversial firing and then death of a longtime elderly service worker, Sharyn Bishop. Cobbs came under fire for seeking to dismiss Bishop not just because of legitimate personnel issues, but because she violated the city’s new press policy by speaking to a reporter after hours.
Cobbs also oversaw a DeStefano administration effort to close the West River Senior Center; lobbying by seniors stopped that idea.
The decision to leave the city was Cobbs’, not her bosses’, said city Community Services Administrator Kica Matos.
“She left on very good terms,” Matos said Monday. “We were sorry to see her go.”
Matos said Cobbs told her she was pregnant with her third child and had lined up a part-time job in gerontology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The hospital has Cobbs listed as a “research manager for core-funded projects.” Cobbs herself did not return a phone call for comment left at her home number.
The next elderly services chief will have two big challenges, Matos said.
“The new person who comes in will have to do more with less” because of tight budget times, she said. Also, the new person will be coming in at a time of shifts in the field of gerontology. “As the baby boom generation retires, their needs are very different from before,” Matos observed, and the programs that serve them will change accordingly.
Cobbs became elderly services chief in April of 2006 at the age of 32. She previously oversaw the New Haven Asthma Coalition. Click here to read a biographical release issued by the city when she was named.