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New faces, new directions



city hall complex

This aerial view of the city hall complex shows the geographical center of Port St. Lucie that links city services, police and community center activities. Port St. Lucie ranks as one of the safest cities in America.
CITY OF PSL PHOTO

City adds staffers, upgrades programs, restructures department

BY DEBRA MAGRANN

The city has welcomed new staff additions at the civic center, the City Attorney’s Office, Communications and Community Services departments and has ramped up education and outreach programs at Utility Systems.

Building a stronger city from within is a priority for Carmen Capezzuto who moves from project manager of Emergency Management and Public Safety to director of a restructured department with a new name: Neighborhood Services.

Transitioning into the new role, Capezzuto’s duties will include complying with state and federal housing regulations, administering grants and assuring fair housing rights. During his 15-year career, he has been dedicated to public safety, outreach and education.

“My goal is to take advantage of the dynamic resources available to preserve and maintain the city’s unique neighborhoods,” he says.

Keeping communications flowing will be the new director, Kristina Ciuperger, and public information officer, Sarah Prohaska.

Ciuperger arrives from the Village of Wellington in Palm Beach County where she served in multiple positions, chiefly as communications manager. She is married with two daughters and the family will soon reside in the city.

“It’s been a whirlwind; I’ve been super busy,” she says. “It is a wonderful environment with many people with passion. I’m impressed that the city is willing to be innovative and forward-thinking. Taking certain risks shows they want to do better.”

Prohaska began her career as a staff writer for the Stuart News and was with the Palm Beach Post for more than a decade, specializing in courthouse and government reporting. She lives in Port St. Lucie with her husband and two sons, ages 6 and 8.

“As the PIO, I hope to keep residents informed about not only events in the city, but also issues that affect their homes and quality of life,” she says.

Jenny Newell Tomes moves from public information officer to project coordinator for the Utility Systems department. With a focus on public outreach and education, she will be advancing water conservation, producing and shooting informational videos.

Commenting on her learning curve, Tomes says, “You have no idea what it takes to keep clean water flowing from the faucet.”

Kathleen McAlpine enters as director of a revamped civic center management model. Her zeal for excellence in public service speaks to her experience in airlines emergency management, nonprofit guest services and convention center operations. “I love the camaraderie of all the employees…the energy is wonderful.” she says.

O. Reginald Osenton of Brandon knew he was the ideal candidate for city attorney. He says he will efficiently steer the ship. He shares Eagle Scout status with his son, Ben, and recently sent his daughter, Lauren, off to college.

“I hope to find a good church, spectator sports and join Rotary International,” he says.