Veteran Latino political leader Tomas Reyes is a leading contender to serve as chief of staff to Toni Harp, according to people close to the mayor-elect’s transition team.
Reyes (pictured) and Harp have a close working relationship dating back to the late 1980s, when Reyes served as president of the Board of Aldermen. Harp served for a time as the board’s president pro tem (number two in aldermanic leadership). She worked closely with Reyes on a cutting-edge citywide homeless plan, among other initiatives.
An announcement of the chief of staff appointment is not expected before next week. The position, the mayor’s top aide, oversees City Hall staff and serves as point person for the mayor on both policy and political matters.
Harp declined to comment about the appointment.
Reyes, who is 62, said he “would be honored to serve” if chosen for the job. He said that Connecticut Mental Health Center, where he currently works (also as chief of staff), has agreed to grant him a leave of absence if Harp were to appoint him.
“I’ve known Toni for a long time,” and admire her commitment to helping the poor, Reyes said.
Reyes spoke Wednesday of Harp’s “knowledge of city issues, her commitment to working with everyone—including people who are disadvantaged, who we have to work together to bring into the mainstream, which I believe government should be all about.”
“It’s always been a dream of mine to get city government more responsive to people in need,” Reyes said.
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Photo: Thomas MacMillan