Schenectady County’s Human Rights Commission will bring in a familiar face to serve as its new executive director.
The search committee established by the commission after Brian Wright’s departure in February has chosen Angelica Morris to be his successor. Morris, 34, has served on the commission for eight years before accepting the post last month.
“I have a passion for people, and I’m passionate for the commission,” she said Tuesday.
Morris, who previously worked as an aide in then-Mayor Brian Stratton’s office, had been serving as the commission’s acting executive director on a voluntary basis since Wright vacated the position after 17 years. As executive director, she’ll earn a salary of $63,485, county spokesman Joe McQueen said.
Under her leadership, Morris intends to make the commission more visible in the community. She also hopes to partner with various religious and community organizations so they can better utilize the commission as a resource.
“The role of the commission is to be in the community and be a resource that can be utilized,” she said.
Patricia Valentino, who headed the commission’s search committee, said Morris stood out from more than a dozen applicants who submitted resumes, and she lauded Morris for stepping in as acting director so the commission had a smooth transition after Wright’s departure.
“She was an outstanding candidate,” Valentino said. “She has the ability to build bridges in the county, and it seemed like a real natural position for her to take over and build on.”
The commission’s selection will now go before the county Legislature for approval. It’s unclear when legislators will bring up the appointment.
Legislators will also need to select a new chairman to replace Morris on the commission.
Though not originally from Schenectady, Morris has lived in the city for 13 years and has family from the area. She has a bachelor’s degree from Sage College in Albany.
As the new director, Morris will have a much tighter budget than her predecessor. County legislators reduced the total funding allotted for the commission from $201,129 in 2012 to $112,171 this year and its personnel line from $150,302 to $83,151.
Morris said the reduced budget, while challenging, won’t be an obstacle. She said part of her goal since becoming acting director was to reach out to organizations with similar goals in order to explore areas where they work together and conserve resources.
“With the commission being more responsive and visible … we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” she said.
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