Mayor-elect Rivera’s Central Falls leadership team & agenda

As Central Falls Mayor-elect Maria Rivera prepares to be sworn into office on January 4, 2021, she is announcing her new leadership team and appointments for the city.

“Central Falls has made incredible progress over the last eight years under Mayor Diossa’s administration, and it’s important for me that our city departments, boards, and commissions are led by diverse talent that will continue moving our city forward,” said Mayor-elect Rivera. “I’m confident in these individuals and their ability to engage and support our residents and businesses during this challenging time by ensuring their voices are heard and important needs of our community are met.”

Mayor-elect Rivera’s leadership team will include:

  • Zuleyma Gomez, Chief of Staff. Zuleyma is the former Community Relations Coordinator for the RI Department of State, supporting the Secretary of State’s community relations efforts, and brings previous experience as a City of Central Falls Executive Administrative Assistant, supporting Mayor Diossa’s day-to-day operations. Zuleyma is a Central Falls resident, an alum of the Rhode Island Latina Leadership Institute and is bi-lingual in Spanish and English.
  • Ernest Almonte, Director of Finance. Ernie is the former Rhode Island Auditor General and former partner at RSM US LLP. As Auditor General, Ernie was responsible for the State of Rhode Island financial, performance and fraud audits, as well as the $8 billion CAFR, audit of the RI Lottery financial statements and IT controls, provided due diligence on casino mergers and compliance with state agreements, insight and foresight on municipal pensions, and oversaw the audits of quasi-public agencies and municipalities. Ernie is the Past National President of the Association of Government Accountants and Former Chairman of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Jahaira Rodriguez, City Clerk. Jahaira is a former Field Investigator for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. As a fully-bilingual professional, Jahaira has more than 20 years of experience working to develop exceptional customer service skills and community engagement. Jahaira is currently a member of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee and Rhode Island Civic Fund, and alum of the Rhode Island Latina Leadership Institute.
  • Dr. Ana C. Ureña, JD PhD, Director of Human Resources. Dr. Ureña served as a Transition co-chair for Mayor-elect Rivera.  She is the former Director of Operations at Blackstone Academy Charter High School and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Roger Williams University. As a bi-lingual Spanish and English speaker, Dr. Ureña brings additional experience as a previous Rule 9 Attorney and Litigation Specialist, current Vice President of the Community Action Partnership of Providence Board, and current Legal Advisor to the Rhode Island Welcome Back Center.
  • Alberto Rivas, Director of Parks and Recreation. As a former Community Facilitator for Taunton Public Schools, Alberto has years of experience coordinating across departments and organizing community events. Alberto is bi-lingual in Spanish and English, and brings previous experience as the Community Director and Co-Founder of Latin Pass Inc. and the Puerto Rico Governor’s Office.
  • Thomas Deller, AICP, Director of Planning and Economic Development. Thomas has been serving in this role since 2018 and with the Department since 2016, successfully overseeing planning, zoning and redevelopment, as well as working with local businesses and state agencies to support economic development. Thomas is the Principal at Deller Consulting, bringing extensive experience in planning and project management, and previously served as Chair of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, member of the RI State Planning Council, and Executive Committee member of the Northeast Economic Developers Association.
  • Jean Philippe Barros, Director of Public Works & Code Enforcement. Fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, Jean Philippe Barros has successfully served as the Deputy Director of Public Works and Code Enforcement since 2014, and brings extensive state government experience with him as a current State Representative for District 59, and previous experience as a Pawtucket City Councilman and as a Pawtucket School Committee member.
  • Matthew Jerzyk, Esq., City Solicitor. Matt has been successfully serving as City Solicitor since 2014, from representing the city and its interests in all litigation to the review of city contracts and representation of city boards and commissions. In his role, Matt initiated the creation of an affirmative litigation initiative, including successful litigation against the Trump Administration, as well as an innovative eminent domain project for public recreation and the creation of task forces involving nuisance property, domestic violence and lead poisoning. Matt is the previous Deputy Solicitor and Senior Counsel to former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.  
  • Anthony Roberson, Chief of Police. Currently serving as a Sergeant in the Uniform Division of the Providence Police Department, Sgt. Roberson is a highly decorated and well-respected law enforcement veteran with 18+ years of demonstrated commitment to building strong, safe, and inclusive communities. Sgt. Roberson was the first in Rhode Island to be selected to receive the U.S. Department of Justice Innovation in Community Policing Award. Sgt. Roberson brings executive leadership training experience from Harvard University Kennedy School, Cornell University and the University of Louisville Southern Police Institute. Sgt Roberson was also an instructor for the Providence Police Academy on diversity and cultural competencies. Sgt. Roberson held the position of Commanding Officer of the Records Bureau, Detective and School Resource Officer. He has earned a Masters degree in Criminal Justice, a Masters degree in education as well as a Doctorate degree in education. Sgt. Roberson serves as a role model for integrity, honesty, and building community trust – integral qualities needed as Mayor-elect Rivera works to improve and advance community policing efforts.
  • Wanda Casiano, Director of Constituent Services and Health. Wanda is a deeply-invested Central Falls community member, living in the city and fluent in both English and Spanish. Wanda brings with her experience from CVS where she worked as a pharmacy technician for three years and was newly-appointed to the Central Falls Personnel Board. Wanda earned her degree from Columbia College in Yauco, PR.

Mayor-elect Rivera’s leadership announcements follow key recommendations by her Transition Team after thorough review of Central Falls departments and programs, identifying opportunities to best implement Mayor-elect Rivera’s bold agenda moving forward. Her Transition Team made the following top 10 key recommendations:

1. In response to a high-demand for constituent services, restructure personnel and office space to create a new “Office of Constituent Services and Public Health” that will focus on problem solving for residents, delivering quality services and continuing the tremendous work of the city’s health officials.
2. Enhance fiscal transparency and organization by implementing a spending freeze on all non-essential items and requiring each department to begin each fiscal year with a zero budget and prepare a proposed budget for consideration.
3. Upgrade the city’s website to make it more user friendly and accessible to our residents; quality online services are more critical than ever with this pandemic.
4. Address important and immediate capacity needs by filling departmental vacancies with qualified candidates based on comprehensive postings, referrals and searches. 
5. With Central Falls feeling the devastating effects of COVID-19, prioritize testing and access to vaccines for our residents.
6. Provide more professional development opportunities, conduct trainings regarding racism, discrimination and harassment and launch an employee evaluation system to support city staff growth and success.
7. Continue to emphasize and promote greater diversity in the police and fire departments so that our city employees look like the city they serve.
8. Identify and apply for additional grants to fight the effects of COVID-19, combat lead poisoning, support our library, build home ownership and affordable housing, and implement body and dash cameras in the police department.
9. Implement new human resource tools regarding the scheduling, monitoring and reporting of overtime and increase programs for the wellness of city employees.
10. Identify further opportunities to create more green and recreation spaces in the city for our children, families and seniors.

For more information, visit

Mayor-elect’s campaign video:

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