Schenectady County

Schenectady council appoints 7 to advisory board

A police officer, a state affirmative action director and a member of the Civilian Police Review Boa

A police officer, a state affirmative action director and a member of the Civilian Police Review Board are among the first appointees to the city’s Affirmative Action Advisory Board.

Mayor Gary McCarthy presented his list of appointees to the City Council for Monday’s committee meeting. No one objected, and Councilman Ed Kosiur did not bring up his past complaint that there weren’t enough white board members.

The advisory board hasn’t been used for many years, but Councilwoman Marion Porterfield pushed to re-create it this year. She hoped board members would be able to help the county Affirmative Action Office recruit more minorities for city positions and craft contracts that encourage more city contractors to hire minorities.

Two of the city’s contractors last year ignored a “goal” in their contracts to hire minorities, saying they tried but could not find anyone qualified to do the work. They only advertised for extremely specialized positions.

The city government workforce only includes about 8 percent minority workers, compared to a city population that is 38 percent minorities. Porterfield said something must be done, and she’s counting on the new board to help.

The appointees include city police Sgt. Adriel Linyear, who joined the force in 2007. Among his qualifications, he was a Hamilton Hill neighborhood community officer and has a bachelor’s from Lafayette College, majoring in economics and business.

Also appointed was Teneka Frost-Amusa, an attorney for the state Department of State. Until February 2013, she was also director of affirmative action for the department, investigating complaints of discrimination, as well as running training programs and providing guidance to managers, according to her resume. She is now associate counsel for the department.

Also among the appointees is Portia Alston, who has for many years advocated for the Hamilton Hill neighborhood. She works for the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and has focused on youth in the criminal justice system. She also joined the Civilian Police Review Board, which reviews complaints of police misconduct during arrests and other matters.

Other appointees are Randolph McGough, director of human resources for the state Office of the Medicaid Inspector General; Kanema Haynes, a legal clerk in the county Public Defender’s Office; Jennifer Eaddy-Garvin, who holds a master’s degree in public health and teaches at Bryant and Stratton College; and former Better Neighborhoods Inc. assistant director Ellie Pepper, who is now regional coordinator for the Empire Justice Center.

In both roles, Pepper focuses on home ownership, overseeing counseling programs and other efforts to help low-income residents eventually buy a house.

All seven appointees live in the city. And they soon could be joined by two more members: Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said she wants the mayor to appoint two more members, to bring the board to its maximum membership of nine. The mayor agreed to continue looking.

“I didn’t see any Hispanic representatives or Guyanese representatives,” Perazzo said. “Can we continue? Because I think that’s important.”

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