By Doug Maine
As Carmen Sierra took the oath to become the first Hispanic assistant city treasurer in Hartford’s history, members of her family looked on with pride. Among them was her father, José Sierra, a man familiar with being first; he was among the first Puerto Ricans to come to Connecticut to work in the 1950s.
Sierra joins an office that handles $1 billion in pension funds. Her new post makes her one of the top Latino public pension executives in the state.
As part of her new job, which pays $90,000, Sierra said she plans to work for the Latino community, as she has in the past. “I have experience working with the community and addressing their needs. I’m proud that I’m Puerto Rican and I think it’s time we started reaching out to the young people and educating them about the financial world, even if it’s only in a small way,” she said.
With experience at the city, state and federal levels of government, as well as in the private sector with a Fortune 500 insurance company, Sierra said has always advocated for the state’s Hispanic residents. “I have a lot of support in the state of Connecticut,” said Sierra, who when asked, laughed, and then declined to give her age.
Most recently, Sierra served as school governance council facilitator for the Hartford Board of Education. Sierra has a bachelor’s degree in management and human resources from Central Connecticut State University; a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Hartford and a certificate from the Executive Program in Public Administration at Harvard University’s John Kennedy School of Government.
Aware of the historic nature of his appointment of Sierra, City Treasurer Adam M. Cloud said, “It’s important that my office reflect the demographics of the city of Hartford and that I find the best candidate to execute the duties of assistant treasurer. I’ve known Carmen for over 15 years and have trusted her advice and council for over 15 years and I think she will be a wonderful addition to the office of the city treasurer.”
As assistant city treasurer, Cloud said, “in essence, her responsibility is to stand in my stead when I’m not available to prosecute my duties. The primary role of the assistant city treasurer is to be the manager of the office, working to create efficiencies, policies and procedures that result in an effective and productive operation within the city treasurer’s office.”
Shortly after being sworn in, Sierra and her family members and friends said their goodbyes and she headed off to her new office with Cloud. Sierra replaces Donna Nappier, sister of State Treasurer Denise Nappier.
“I’m excited that the city treasurer asked me to serve with him. We both have a lot in common. We both were born and raised in Hartford. We both love the community and we love to serve the community,” she said. “He’s someone I enjoy working with. He’s a hard worker, and I’m pleased that he chose me to be part of his team.”