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Diossa collects advisers

December 25, 2012

CENTRAL FALLS — Mayor-elect James Diossa is marshalling expertise from across the state to advise him on a variety of issues as he prepares to take the helm of the state’s smallest and poorest city.
Dozens of volunteers from various walks of life have joined an “advisory council” and have been divided up into five committees to assist the new mayor with various aspects of city life. They are expected to report their advice to Diossa 100 days into his new term.
Patricia Martinez, Executive Director for the Center for Family Support and Student Development for Central Falls Public Schools and former Director of Progreso Latino and the Department of Children, Youth and Families will co-chair the advisory council, along with Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, OBGYN, Brown University medical school professor and Latino Public Radio founder, and state Sen. Elizabeth Crowley.
“I am grateful that many volunteers have stepped forward to consider our great city’s daunting challenges and to work hard in finding solutions together,” Diossa said. “The central tasks facing us – building the economy, improving our schools, reducing crime, increasing the quality of life – all require relationships and networks beyond the borders of our city. These individuals represent varying viewpoints and diverse perspectives but they share one thing in common – they know that Central Falls must succeed. With their help, we will.”
The council will meet twice a month to solicit input from the community on the challenges and opportunities facing the city, explore olicies and strategies for moving Central Falls forward and create recommendations and action-items for Diossa.
The advisory council will be divided into the following committees:

Economic Development Committee
• William Sanchez, President of William’s Financial Services, Central Falls (co-chair)
• John Gregory, President/CEO Northern RI Chamber of Commerce co-chair)
• Adriana Dawson, northern Rhode Island regional director for the R.I. Small Business Development Center at Johnson & Wales University
• Jerauld Adams, Chair, Board of Trustees, Adams Memorial Library
• Gary Furtado, President and CEO, Navigant Credit Union in Central Falls
• Stephen Angell, CEO/Manager Dexter Credit Union in Central Falls
• Agostinho F. Silva, State Representative, Central Falls
• John Chippis, owner of Sparkys Restaurant, Central Falls
• Andrew Shotts, Garrison Confections, Central Falls
• Claudia Cardozo, Urban Business Development Manager at Rhode Island
• Economic Development Corporation
• Doris Blanchard, business consultant
• Greg Pilgrim, Chief Operating Officer, Murdock Webbing, Central Falls

Quality of Life and City Services Committee
• Stephanie Gonzalez, Chair of Central Falls Charter Review Commission and member of Central Falls Board of Trustees for Central Falls School District (co-chair)
• Phil West, former director, Common Cause of Rhode Island (co-chair)
• Mario Bueno, Executive Director of Progreso Latino, Central Falls
• Rev. Otoniel Gomez, Pastor, Holy Spirit Parish, Central Falls
• Maria Cristina Betancur, Family Organizer for Progreso Latino, Central Falls
• Tina Sullivan, Executive Director, Central Falls Housing Authority
• Bruce Kaplan, President of Central Falls Free Public Library
• Nancy Whit, Executive Director of Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation
• Lammis Vargas, Staff member of Pawtucket mayor Don Grebien
• Pleshette Mitchell, Director of Neighborhood Services, City of Providence

Education Committee
• Sonia Rodrigues, Rhode Island Career Development Association and Chair of Way to Go RI (co-chair)
• Joshua Giraldo, teacher at Blackstone Valley Prep, Central Falls native, member of the Central Falls Free Public Library board (co-chair)
• Angelo Garcia, Director of Segue Institute for Learning, Central Falls
• Dr. David Alba, Principal of Calcutt Middle School, Central Falls
• Jane Sessums, President of the Central Falls Teachers Union
• Dr. Frances Gallo, Central Falls School Superintendent
• William Formicola, College Crusade of Rhode Island, Senior Vice President of Operations
• Michelle Arias Santabay, Student, Central Falls High School
• Alexander Sidorkan, Dean of Rhode Island College’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development
• Sandra Cano, Pawtucket School Committee member, Business Community and Development Officer at Navigant Credit Union
• Ron Thompson, Teacher, Central Falls High School

Public Safety Committee
• John Labosssiere, retired lieutenant of the Central Falls Police Department (co-chair)
• Colonel Steven O’Donnell, Rhode Island State Police (co-chair)
• Peter Kilmartin, Attorney General
• Steven Pare, Providence Public Safety Commissioner
• Teny Gross, Executive Director, Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence
• Mike Andrews, Central Falls Fire Union
• Craig Viens, Central Falls Police Union
• AT Wall, Director of Rhode Island Department of Corrections
• Lisette Gomes, Attorney and Central Falls native.

Arts and Tourism Committee
• Bob Billington, founder and president, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council (co-chair)
• Libby Slader, board president of Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts, interior designer (co-chair)
• Dale Venturini, President/CEO of Rhode Island Hospitality Association
• Francis Parra, council member of the Rhode Island State Council on bthe Arts, teacher
• Gabriel Martinez, Colombo-American Cultural Association
• Hernan Padilla, CEO/Executive Director of HITEP, Hispanic Technology & Education Programs
• Tom Shanahan, former director of the Central Falls Free Public Library
• Herb Weiss, Economic Development Director, City of Pawtucket
• Emily Jodka of New Urban Farmers
The council’s first meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on December 27 at Ella Risk Elementary School.


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