Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll announced Tuesday the appointment of Salem resident Rosalia Velazquez as the City’s new Council on Aging Director.
Velazquez recently moved to Salem from North Charleston, where she spent the last three years serving as Executive Director of AccessHealth Tri-County Network, a nonprofit organization she helped develop. AccessHealth is a coalition of 27 healthcare providers that provides low or no cost healthcare to low income, uninsured residents in three counties of South Carolina.
Velazquez’ record of experience also includes time as Executive Director of the Solano Coalition for Better Health Care in Fairfield, California. Prior to that she worked for major nonprofits in San Francisco, as Deputy Director of Programs for the Jewish Vocational Services and Chief of Strategy and Operations for United Way of the Bay Area. From 1996 to 1999 she was President of the United Way of Central Massachusetts in Worcester.
“Rosalia will bring a high level of professionalism and expertise in management and human services to our Council on Aging,” said Mayor Driscoll. “Her extensive leadership experience, her organizational skills, her coalition-building ability, and even her grant-writing background all lead me to believe that Rosalia is right for our COA. Rosalia is familiar with best practices in program evaluation, has managed facilities, and is more than able to manage large budgets. Equally important, however, she is equipped to handle the small, day-to-day connections and challenges that come with this role. This is the appropriate time to bring someone of Rosalia’s caliber and skills on board to lead our COA.
“Rosalia’s professional experience and her personal qualities will make her good fit to head the Council on Aging,” said Karen Partanen, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services, who will supervise Velazquez. “She has the demeanor and ability to relate well with people one-on-one. It’s an intangible quality that is very important in a COA Director here in Salem. Rosalia will interact with a great diversity of people on a daily basis.”
After the position was posted on October 17, 2013, the City received 28 applications for the position. A committee consisting of Partanen, Lisa Cammarata (Human Resources Director), Beth Rennard (City Solicitor), Patricia Donahue (COA Board of Directors), Paul Lanzikos (Executive Director of North Shore Elder Services), and Dominick Pangallo (Mayor Driscoll’s Chief of Staff) interviewed seven of the applicants and recommended two finalists to the Mayor for a final interview and decision.
“The process was rigorous and objective,” said Cammarata. “The City was fortunate to have many very qualified applicants to consider.”
Velazquez’s appointment was submitted to the City Council today for a confirmation vote and she will begin work on March 10.