NORWALK, Conn. – A new board of directors has been installed at South Norwalk’s embattled anti-poverty agency.
Sixteen new board members present at the March 20 meeting of NEON (Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now) were sworn in, according to a press release. Two additional members who were unable to attend, John J. O’Dea and Terry Adams, will be sworn in at a later date.
In denying the majority of NEON’s request for funding earlier this year, Mayor Richard Moccia and other city officials criticized the agency for not having a new board of directors in place nearly a year after the scandalous revelations stemming from a federal audit sent the group into turmoil. NEON Interim CEO/President Pat Wilson Pheanious said the selection of a new board had been delayed, in part by Superstorm Sandy.
New board members are:
• Attorney TaShun Bowden-Lewis of Stratford
• Vanessa Parker of Norwalk
• Alan J. Rossi of Greenwich
• Christopher Ruzzi of Stamford
• Dr. Susan G. Weinberger of Norwalk
• Attorney William Westcott of Norwalk
• Dale Ferguson of Stratford
• Rosemarie Michel of Norwalk
• Robin Peterson of Norwalk
• Katherine R. Williams of Norwalk
• Mike M. Meyer of Westport
• John J. O’Dea of Stamford
• Terry Adams of Stamford
• Cynthia Bowser of Stamford
• Bishop Elizabeth Dukes of Stamford
• Angela Edwards of Stamford
• Elda Mas of Norwalk
• Marisol Rodriguez of Norwalk
The first meeting of the new board served as an orientation about the agency’s mission, structure, programs, funding sources and bylaws, the release said. Future business will include the election of officers and the establishment of committees to ensure a smooth transition to good governance and responsible oversight of all NEON programs.
Pheanious welcomed and thanked the new board members, saying, “Although NEON has experienced some recent bumps in the road, I’m proud to be a leader of this agency with a history of accomplishment and amazing potential for the future,” the release said.
In April, the new board will convene a retreat to review the agency’s history and lay the necessary groundwork for advancing NEON’s mission, programs and services, the release said.
NEON merged with the Stamford-based CTE Inc. (Committee on Training and Employment) in October. Its new board reflects that, with members geographically representative of people in lower Fairfield County, from Norwalk, Stamford and surrounding cities and towns located in the agency’s catchment area.
New board members include men and women with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, with expertise in law, finance, marketing and early childhood education, the release said. The composition of the board fulfills the required tri-partite configuration of membership from the low income community, government and business/professional sectors.
The 5-month board selection process included the recruitment of a selection committee, representing members of the low income, political, professional and non-profit communities — along with the establishment of Norwalk and Stamford area advisory committees, public recruitment meetings and the election of two representatives from Norwalk’s low income community, the release said. None of the new board members are holdovers from NEON’s or CTE’s former boards of directors.