Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the appointment of Enrique Pepén as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) and John Romano as the new Deputy Director. Additionally, Mayor Wu announced hiring for three vacancies, including Nathalia Benitez as East Boston Liaison, Chulan Huang as Chinatown, Downtown and Leather District Liaison, and Ciara D’Amico as North End Liaison, West End and Waterfront. They will strive to encourage, facilitate and maximize citizen input and participation through service requests, neighborhood meetings, mail-outs and emergency response.
“Our Neighborhood Services team is at the heart of municipal service delivery, ensuring we are connected across all neighborhoods and communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I am so grateful for their leadership and hard work in empowering every resident and making Boston a city for everyone.”
Pepén and Romano will oversee the operations of the Office of Neighborhood Services with the goal of improving overall engagement in city neighborhoods, delivering city services, and ensuring the quality of the department’s work under the direction of Chief of Community Engagement, Brianna Millor.
Originally from Boston and currently a resident of Roslindale, Enrique Pepén is the son of Dominican immigrants. He began his public service career in 2016 as an intern for former City Councilman Tito Jackson. He then transitioned to serve as district coordinator for former U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, assisting voters with federal government issues. In 2019, Pepén was appointed as the Jamaica Plain Liaison in the Office of Neighborhood Services and served as the community contact for residents. Most recently, he served as the Transportation Community Engagement Coordinator for Massachusetts, where he led efforts to ensure transportation equity and access to reliable and affordable transportation across the state. .
“I am more than delighted to serve under Mayor Wu’s administration and lead the ONS,” said Enrique Pepén. “I believe this department is the heart of City Hall and it is our job to ensure that the people of Boston are involved in all of the city’s services and projects. I look forward to getting started and to get to work.
In his spare time, Pepén serves as a member of the YDMA Latino Caucus to ensure progress and involvement in civic engagement for young Latinx residents across the state.
John Romano is a North End native who became active in the community at a young age, volunteering with community organizations like North End Against Drugs, North End Athletic Association and the North End Music and Performing Arts Center. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in higher education administration, graduating in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
“I am ready to bring the values and skills I learned in my previous role to continue to serve under Mayor Wu’s administration and help lead the ONS,” said John Romano. “This department is the voice of every community and we strive to make that voice heard in every department and every decision made. I look forward to continuing to work with our team and administration to achieve this. »
Romano was previously the North End, Waterfront, West End liaison with the Neighborhood Services Office. He brings to the position of Deputy Director a deep understanding of the ONS mission to connect residents to City services and a wealth of experience in public service and community engagement.
The Neighborhood Services Office also filled three vacant liaison positions. Nathalia Benitez will serve as East Boston Liaison, Chulan Huang as Chinatown, Downtown and Leather District Liaison, and Ciara D’Amico as North, West and Waterfront Liaison They will disseminate information and facilitate service delivery in conjunction with City departments to citizens in their respective neighborhoods.
Nathalia Benitez was born in Colombia, emigrated to Spain when she was four, then moved to the United States when she was twelve. She then graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Honors.
“I have always enjoyed being a resident of the vibrant community of East Boston and am honored to now serve the neighborhood as East Boston Liaison,” said Nathalia Benitez. “I look forward to working alongside people in my community to ensure that Eastie remains an inclusive and beneficial place for all.”
Benitez enjoys indulging in the growing restaurant scene across the city, as well as volunteering and working with local organizations and political campaigns.
Chulan Huang immigrated from China to Boston’s Chinatown when he was 3 years old. As a young teenager, he was introduced to Boston Asian Youth Essential Services where he discovered his love for Chinatown through participating in numerous civic engagement programs. Huang is an alumnus of Boston Public School and graduated from East Boston High School in 2018.
“I am delighted to join Mayor Wu’s ONS team as the community contact for Chinatown, downtown and leather district,” said Chulan Huang. “I am proud to represent Boston’s first Asian-American female mayor and look forward to helping these neighborhoods recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in an equitable and accessible way.
Huang is an avid weightlifter.
Ciara D’Amico is a third-generation North End resident who attended the Eliot School and Boston Latin Academy. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Social Work from Saint Anselm College.
“I am extremely excited to take on this role to serve and work with the residents I grew up around,” said Ciara D’Amico. “I’m super passionate about helping others and look forward to working with my community.”
In his free time, D’Amico enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping, trying new restaurants, traveling and exercising.
To find your neighborhood liaison, visit boston.gov/ons.
ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES CITY HALL
The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) encourages, facilitates and maximizes citizen input and participation through service requests, neighborhood meetings, direct mail and emergency response. To report non-emergency issues to the City, residents are encouraged to connect with BOS:311 by dialing 3-1-1 or downloading the free BOS:311 app on iOS or Android platforms.