School board president Oshin Castillo was confirmed as the health and human services director by the City Council on Tuesday night.
Members of the City Council approved her appointment without opposition.
“She’s a role model for the other Latinas in the city and I’m proud that she made history as the first Dominican department head that we’ve had,” said councilman Al Abdelaziz, chairman of the health and human services committee. “I know you’re going to do a good job.”
Dominicans are the largest Hispanic group in Paterson. However, over the years many expressed grievances against past administrations for scant Dominican representation in high-level government posts.
Nearly six years ago, mayor Andre Sayegh clashed with his then-rival ex-mayor Jose “Joey” Torres over the issue. He accused Torres of failing to appoint a single Dominican to his cabinet despite their big numbers in the city.
At the time, Torres was a former two-term mayor seeking a third nonconsecutive term.
Sayegh’s appointment of Castillo appears to address a longstanding grievance in the Dominican community.
“I know she’s out there and not only sitting in the office,’ said councilman Luis Velez. He wants directors to be out in the community to proactively address issues before they become intractable problems.
Councilman Flavio Rivera, who is also of Dominican heritage, said Castillo understands the needs of the community. He served with her on the Board of Education.
“She will perform the job correctly,” said Rivera.
Sayegh appointed Castillo as health and human services director in August. He had expected to hire her earlier, but needed her to show resume experience working in the area. Castillo spent the past year working as “special assistant” to the human services director at the Passaic County government to build experience.
Castillo has worked as a confidential secretary to the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She was hired to the post in Sept. 2016, nine months after becoming a school board member. She worked at Paterson Medical LLC from September 2015 until she was hired by Passaic County. Prior to that she worked as a business development representative at TD Bank on Valley Road in Wayne from February 2015 through September 2015.
Castillo has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Communications from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She completed her internship at the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Division from August 2010 through September 2012, according to her resume submitted to the Passaic County government.
Payroll records show Castillo’s salary at $92,000.
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