By Michael Walsh
Special to the Voice
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi has appointed 19-year-old resident Roman Khondker to the West Haven Community Development Administration’s Citizen Advisory Committee.
Khondker, who is halfway through his senior year at The Sound School Regional Vocational Aquaculture Center in New Haven, was sworn in Feb. 4 at a ceremony in the Harriet C. North Community Room at City Hall.
During her remarks, Rossi thanked Khondker for volunteering to serve on the nine-member committee, pointing out that he has a strong desire for serving the city he has called home since emigrating from Bangladesh nearly a decade ago.
“You will learn a lot about the day-to-day needs of some of our most vulnerable residents,” Rossi said. “I hope you stay positive and will be a compassionate member of the committee.”
According to CDA officials, Khondker will help consider grant applications and allocate Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for programs that serve low- to moderate-income people.
“Our Consolidated Housing and Community Development Plan says that this committee is the ‘foundation of its citizen participation process,’” Rossi said at the swearing-in ceremony. “And I think citizen participation is the foundation of a healthy democracy.”
Rossi said she was in office for about five weeks when Khondker came by City Hall expressing interest in his appointment to the committee.
“He delivered a letter of interest on Jan. 11, 2018,” Rossi said. “In it he described West Haven as friendly and amazing. How great that these were his first impressions of this city.”
Rossi, a Democrat, said she met Khondker last August while he was running in the Republican primary for state representative and was “very impressed.”
In his letter, Khondker wrote that he came to the U.S. in 2010 and became an American citizen in 2017.
“How many new citizens make public service one of their first priorities?” Rossi asked. “I am still impressed by Roman’s enthusiasm and passion for public service.”