The Huntington Town Board has appointed Angel Cepeda as the director of Community Development Agency by a vote of 4-1.
Councilwoman Joan Cergol was the sole vote Tuesday against his appointment, citing his lack of experience in housing and other Community Development Agency responsibilities.
According to Cepeda’s resume, his most recent employment was as special assistant to the supervisor in the Town of Oyster Bay, where he represented the supervisor and promoted Town of Oyster Bay initiatives.
He also ran two campaigns as a Republican candidate for Nassau County Legislator in 2015 and 2017.
Councilman Sal Ferro said that Cepeda volunteered for his campaign in the 2021 election.
Although Cepeda has a long record of experience, serving as the legislative liaison for Christians United for Israel, and is the founding member and treasurer of Voices for Truth and Humanity Inc., Cergol felt he was not qualified enough for this job, considering he does not have the requisite training.
“It defies best hiring practices to appoint anyone to a key town role without the requisite training, skills, or work history,” Cergol said. “I wish Mr. Cepeda well, but I remain concerned with the steep learning curve he will be facing in the days, weeks, and months to come in a position where we needed someone to hit the ground running.”
But Supervisor Ed Smyth, who also serves as chairman of the board of the CDA, believes Cepeda is the perfect fit for the position.
“Angel Cepeda is overqualified to run the CDA, as a business owner and consultant advising organizations on how to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency for the past two decades, along with his private sector and government experience. Mr. Cepeda brings fresh ideas and insight to the CDA.”
The job of Community Development Agency requires extensive knowledge and experience in economic development, HUD requirements, affordable housing, grant writing, and administration, as well New York State public authorities’ training and management.
He replaces Leah Jefferson.