Published June 09. 2014 2:38PM Updated June 10. 2014 12:40AM
New London — Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio on Monday announced that he will appoint New London native Jonathan Ayala as the new city clerk and registrar of vital statistics.
Ayala, 32, graduated from New London High School in 2000 and served in the U.S. Army from 2001 until 2007. He currently manages personnel records for the Department of the Navy as a civilian human resources assistant.
In 2012, Ayala graduated from Three Rivers Community College with an associate’s degree. Last year, he completed his bachelor’s degree in business management from Eastern Connecticut State University with honors. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Liberty University.
When he is sworn in, Ayala will become the city’s first Latino city clerk, the mayor’s office said in its announcement.
“I think that being from New London, being a young educated Latino gives me that diversity,” Ayala, who lives in the city, said. “I can speak to the community that is from one area just as well as I can speak to the business owners, and I think that is important.”
City Councilor Efrain Dominguez, the council’s sole Latino member, said he is encouraged by the hiring.
“This hiring of our first Hispanic city clerk reflects this administration’s commitment to diversity, as well as our city’s growing Latino population’s willingness to serve in our local government,” Dominguez said in a statement.
Ayala moved to New London from Puerto Rico when he was 4 years old and attended Edgerton School, Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School and NLHS.
As a teenager, Ayala was an amateur boxer who trained at Macy’s Gym in East Lyme and fought at Ocean Beach on a Bash at the Beach card, he said.
By freshman year of high school, Ayala said, he discovered a love of poetry and music, and he described himself as “very much a poet, musician and artist at heart.”
Ayala is also a member of N.U. Life, a Christian pop and hip-hop trio that has performed at Christian music festivals and local churches.
Last year, Ayala served as mentor to a group of kids who wanted to perform in the New London Youth Talent Show at the Garde Arts Center. For two or three months, he said, he worked with the kids to get them ready for the show.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “The young people learned how to work together and I shared some of my experiences with music and performing in front of people.”
As clerk, Ayala will have three years to meet the state’s certification requirements for municipal clerks, and will earn an annual salary of $65,000.
In a statement, Finizio said he is confident Ayala will effectively serve the entire city population.
“He’s a veteran, has extensive experience managing records, scored in the top tier of applicants for this post, and is bilingual,” Finizio said in a statement. “He knows and loves New London, having grown up here and having graduated from New London High School.”
The job was advertised publicly through the city’s personnel office from March 28 until April 14. Assistant City Clerk Dawn Currier has served as Acting City Clerk since Nathan Caron resigned from the office in early April.
Ayala will be sworn in July 2 at City Hall.