Cheshire’s new Youth and Human Services Committee finally has a quorum.
Ever since it was announced last year that two committees — Youth Services and Human Services — would be combined into a single body, who would ultimately comprise the new group had been anticipated. At the last Town Council Special Meeting, Councilor At-Large Sylvia Nichols (R) read aloud the names of the committee members — names that include both adults and youths.
The adult Republican members on the committee will be Susan Pappas, Phillip Belcher, Nancy DeFrancesco, Eric Gunther, and Elizabeth Ryducha, according to Nichols. Youth members include Grace Jinks, who attends a private school, Caitlin Paier and Troy Fowler from Cheshire High School, and Jacob Tierney and Eliana Orlinsky from Dodd Middle School.
The members will serve on the committee until 2022, with the exception of Gunther and Ryducha, whose terms will end in 2021, and Tierney and Orlinsky, whose terms will end when they graduate eighth grade.
At the prior meeting, Councilor Peter Talbot announced that Sherry Stekloff, John Nann, and Andrea Hoslett would serve as the Democratic members. Stekloff’s term will end in 2021, and Nann and Hoslett’s terms will end in 2022
Two of the students on the committee, Jinks and Orlinsky, already have experience in public service, having both been heavily involved in the Youth Services Committee prior to the merger.
Stekloff, who had been a member of the former Human Services Committee for the past three years, is excited that the group is finally ready to get going.
“I’m looking forward to the new committee,” she said. “It should be exciting to find out what this committee can do for the community.”
The proposal to merge the Human Services Committee and the Youth Services Committee came last summer when Michelle Piccerillo, the director of Human Services, mentioned that the two bodies were having difficulties holding meetings and implementing their agenda because of low attendance.
The two committees not only had issues with attendance but also engagement, as each had open seats that were not easily filled. That made achieving a quorum and voting on important decisions that much harder.
“This committee is incredibly important to have,” mentioned Nichols. “And now that we have it fully staffed, they have a lot of work to begin on, and hopefully they can get started as soon as possible.”
Councilor David Veleber, who will serve as the committee liason, also took time to mention the importance of the group’s work to the town.
“Thank you Ms. Nichols for working on this with me,” he began. “This committee is extremely important to the town, and I am excited for it to get going, because they have a lot of work to do. I also want to thank Michelle Piccerillo for all of her help with assembling the committee and her continued work on the Human Services Department.”