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Santa Rosa hires new official for community engagement

The head of Sonoma County’s largest Latino leadership association has been hired by Santa Rosa as its new community engagement director as the city grapples with its response to protests against systemic racial injustice and calls for police reform.

Magali Telles will start July 21 for the city of Santa Rosa in a role that focuses on strengthening community relationships. It includes the implementation of the city’s “community empowerment plan,” an effort the city launched in response to protests against George Floyd’s killing, the city announced Monday evening in a news release.

“I’m very passionate about this community because of the incredible humanity and solidarity it has shown during the fires, floods, pandemic, and protests,” Telles said in a statement. “I know that there is a lot of work ahead, and I am invigorated by the opportunity to get to know the specific needs and community assets in each neighborhood.”

Telles’ city service won’t begin in time for Tuesday’s virtual community forum, which the City Council will hold no earlier than 4 p.m.

Telles has lived in Sonoma County for about 20 years and was the first executive director of Los Cien, the Petaluma-based Latino leadership organization. Her starting salary will be $116,976.

“Ms. Telles understands the important time our community is in and is ready to engage, participate, and facilitate the difficult conversations that are long overdue,” Santa Rosa City Manager Sean McGlynn said in a statement. “We are excited to have her as part of the team to lead honest and open engagement at such a critical time.”

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or will.schmitt@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @wsreports.

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