NORWALK, Conn. – The depleted board of South Norwalk’s embattled anti-poverty agency was replenished Wednesday night with the addition of four new board members.
Common Councilman Michael Geake (D-District B), Paola Ochoa, Nick Tarzia and Samuel Delgado were voted onto the board in a quick meeting. Most board members voted over the telephone.
This follows a mass exodus of board members – in early October five board members resigned, following the resignation of Chairman William Westcott on Sept. 23. Most cited poor financial record keeping.
New Board Chairman Michael Berkhoff, who was not physically present at Wednesday’s meeting, was quoted recently as saying new board members would be “like minded.”
“I’m not like minded to anybody,” said Geake, who was present for the meeting. “NEON performs a vital function. I’m committed to preserving NEON. That’s as far as I am committed – whatever it takes to preserve NEON and its services. So anybody who thinks I’m like minded voted wrong.”
Like Geake, Ochoa lives in Norwalk. She is currently a Long Island University graduate student and teaches Spanish at Dolan Middle School in Stamford, according to a press release. She runs a Rosetta Stone program after school. She has been a teacher mentor for College for Every Student and a translator for the Parent Faculty Organization.
Tarzia is a Stamford resident and the owner of Stamford Toys. Delgado, a Stamford resident, is First Niagara Bank’s Summer Street branch manager.
Five of NEON’s board members voted by phone. Only Robin Peterson was there in person.
Also present was a new face among the members of the public watching the proceedings. Norwalk businessman Tommy Larosa took home paperwork to apply to be a board member.
“I think NEON needs a big change from the top down,” he said. “You have to start from scratch.”