Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Interview with Port St.lucie’s Mayor, JoAnn M. Faiella

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mayor JoAnn M. Faiella and her husband, Pat, moved to Port St. Lucie after falling in love with the city while on vacation.

JoAnn took a position as assistant director for Colonial Country Day School, where she developed strong working relationships with leaders at the Department of Children and Families.

Faiella currently holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. She was awarded FBI security clearance, earned Homeland Security certification, and was certified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a crime intelligence analyst.

She began working for the City of Port St. Lucie in 2002, first as a police service aide, and later as a criminal intelligence analyst for the Police Department. She is a recipient of the New York Mayor’s Child Advisory Award for her key participation in the successful investigation of one of the state’s largest fraud cases.

JoAnn Faiella has worked with many of Port St. Lucie’s business and government leaders and employees during her eight-year tenure, including the police Communications Division, Narcotics Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, Criminal Intelligence Division, and Records Department. In 2007, JoAnn directed the relocation of the Narcotics Division to a secluded facility. She was in charge of budgetary control, site location, lease negotiations, building construction, and oversight and coordination of the entire division’s move.

Although she is the Mayor of Port St. Lucie, Faiella remains active in a number of community service organizations both locally and nationally. She is a committee member of Kids at Hope, an organization whose three-tier philosophy is meant to inspire, empower and transform schools and organizations that serve youth and entire communities. She is also a mentor for local juveniles in need of direction and support.

JoAnn and Pat have three children. Their oldest daughter works in the pharmaceutical industry, their second daughter is majoring in forensic science in college, and their son will be entering high school in 2011. As a strong-knit family, the Faiellas believe that anything can be achieved as long as they have the love and support of one another and their community.

[Source: courtesy of Port St. Lucie City Council, http://www.cityofpsl.com/city-council/index.html]


L’Idea: You were born in Brooklyn, a city with a large Italian community, and then you moved to Port St. Lucie and still found a lot of Italians; it looks like your heritage is very important to you.
Faiella: Yes it is. Being an Italian and being in contact and communication with the Italians is very important to me.

L’Idea: You are the recipient of the New York Mayor’s Child Advisory Award. What were the activities that brought you to receive such an honor?
Faiella: Well, I worked a case here in Port St. Lucie with the local Police Department in reference to children being neglected and abused by a foster parent form New York City. With my contacts in New York in law enforcement, it led to a lot of information, therefore, we solved the case and I was awarded the Mayor’s Child Advisory Award.

L’Idea: As a consumer advocate in New York City, what was the most intriguing experience you had?
Faiella: I was a big advocate for making consumers aware that there was many elderly people being taken advantage of, seniors who didn’t know the laws in New York, so I produced a hand book and we placed copies of it in public libraries and schools to let the seniors be aware of their rights and that was a big thing for me.

L’Idea: What made you run for Mayor of the city of Port St. Lucie in these terrible economic times?
Faiella: Everybody asks me that. It’s to make a difference. Some of us elected officials lose perspective on what is right or wrong… being a Mayor, my main concern is communication with the residents, caring about the people, and caring about the different cultures that we have here.

L’Idea: What are your objectives for your city? Do you believe Port St. Lucie has better chances than other American cities to thrive in such a depressed economic period?
Faiella: Yes, absolutely, as soon as I got elected to office we made it more business friendly; we have reduced the fees and streamlined the permit process for anybody who wants to open a business here in Port St Lucie; we have made those goals materialize. The small businesses were the backbone of Port St Lucie before we had all these medical techs that came in to Port St Lucie. We can’t stop caring for small businesses; when they are hurting, we need to get involved and help.

L’Idea: I noticed that both you and your husband have an extensive background in security and law enforcement. How does this preparation influence, if any, your duties as mayor?
Faiella: It’s having an awareness of law enforcement. I know what’s going on, where to direct my forces, and another thing is that Port St. Lucie is one of the safest cities and we want to continue in that direction. Having an open communication with law enforcement helps our community.

L’Idea: You are a committee member of Kids at Hope. What does this association stand for and what are your duties in it?
Faiella: I’m part of that because I believe every child should succeed no matter what. Helping every child learn, and proving to them that they can excel, are some of the goals of Kids at Hope.

L’Idea: You seem to be very involved with young people, both at home and in the community. Do you have a particular message for them?
Faiella: Let’s not stop caring for one another. Even though Port St. Lucie is made up of transplants from all other cities, we still have to help each other out, care about each other, do the right thing. And we have to direct our focus to the community as a whole.

L’Idea: You have a message for the Italian community of Port St. Lucie?
Faiella: As time goes on, we have a lot of Italians coming into Port St. Lucie. Where I came from, all the Italians were united together and we still want to maintain that. Additionally, one of the things that we did was the San Gennaro festival. We brought that into the community. We never had that before and it was a great event. In February we are going to have the Italian festival again. Last year it was our second time, and this coming February is going to be our third one. It’s going to be bigger and better. As long as we get the Italians involved with the community, their heritage is going to continue growing stronger, here in Port St. Lucie.

L’Idea: Any other comments you would like to add?
Faiella: Start caring for one another and, if we all unite and help our neighbors, then this city will become united and work towards the betterment of all.

Leonardo Campanile
Leonardo Campanile
Leonardo Campanile è l’Editor in Chief della rivista che abbraccia tutta la comunità italiana d’America. Nel 2009 è co-partecipe alla fondazione della casa editrice Idea Publications. Nel 2010 organizza e promuove la messa in scena dell’opera ‘Doña Flor’ a New York ed è co-partecipe della fondazione della ditta Opera Prima Enterprise. Nel 2011 fonda la casa editrice Idea Press con lo scopo principale di pubblicare i nostri connazionali all’estero. Campanile e` co-autore del volume Dona Flor, un opera di Niccolo van Westerhout (2009)e i quattro volumi della serie Rediscovered Operas, Colomba, Dona Flor, Fortunio e Cimbelino (2020).

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