NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The official transfer of power has already taken place; Justin Elicker is now the Mayor of New Haven.
He was sworn in Wednesday, during a ceremony that lasted 2 hours. Some other city leaders were also sworn in during that time as well.
On Thursday, Elicker rode his bike to work. From there, he’ll have his first department head meeting and then a high school visit.
He’ll no doubt be dealing with that for real in the coming weeks and months.
One of the big ticket items on his “to do” list is to eventually find a new Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools.
As you may remember, Dr. Carol Birks was ousted from that position in the fall. The Board of Education said it was in the best interest of the students, parents, and the district.
“I’ve been in frequent conversation with Dr. Tracy the current acting superintendent and I think, frankly, we need some time to have a little bit less drama on the Board of Education and focus on getting some work done.
Let the dust settle before we jump into the process of hiring a new superintendent.”– New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Elicker did put a major emphasis Wednesday on education and affordable housing. He’s also looking to create jobs.
Something that has been important to Elicker: transparency. He backed it up with recently released numbers from Data Haven, which found that only 34% of New Haven residents believe government is responsive to their concerns and needs.
“I think one of the keys is being much more open and transparent with information and the process because people often feel that the city is hiding things.
So one of things I want to do early on is to show an open check book on how the city is spending its money. That’s what we are going to be doing early on and sharing information so that people have trust in government.”– New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Elicker ended his busy schedule Thursday at the Fair Haven Branch Library to listen to residents’ concerns and hear what’s happening in his own back yard.
Mayor Elicker explaining his community-oriented approach: “I’m a community member. If the mayor doesn’t hear directly from the community, the mayor cannot effectively lead the city.”
He’s leading the city into a new era with a new budge and new focuses, like public safety.
Elicker said the city is by-in-large very safe, but “we do have some challenges with violent crime.”
Addressing violent crime and re-building the police force are two top priorities for the new administration concerning public safety.
Elicker tells News 8 he has been in constant communication with the Police chief to work hand-in-hand to make the elm city a safer place.
“We have to make sure that there’s more officers walking the beat. We currently don’t have enough officers because we lost them to other towns and so we have to make sure we re-build that police force and make sure we have real community policing.”– New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
HOUSING IN THE ELM CITY:
Elicker told News 8 Thursday that there are a number of issues he wants to address when it comes to housing, but they all come down to bringing better, cleaner housing environments to the residents of New Haven.
“There’s a lot of blight, there are landlords that are not taking care of their homes and there’s a lot of lead poisoning of small children and so I see it critical to have more housing inspectors to make sure residents are living in clean environments.”– New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
He concluded his interview with News 8 saying he’s excited to begin to make real change for everyone in the city, and he hopes “we can hope better together on these ideas.”
Already on the schedule for Friday is the opening of a school and an emergency preparedness exercise involving snow.