Winfield among 18 mayors chosen for NYC conference

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield is in New York City today, among 18 mayors nationwide chosen to participate in a new bipartisan coalition being formed to promote community service and steer federal funding for service programs.

“This is a really big deal, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Winfield said Tuesday.

Winfield traveled on Wednesday and will return on Friday. He and the other mayors — the majority of whom represent metropolitan cities — were selected by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Winfield said he doesn’t know Bloomberg personally, nor has he even met him.

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“He found me somehow,” said the 35-year-old — one of the youngest mayors in Mississippi.

Winfield and the other mayors will hold the inaugural meeting of The Cities of Service Coalition while in New York, and establish the coalition’s policies and guidelines, said Kenya Burks, chief of staff for Winfield. The coalition will provide input on how funding through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed in April by President Barack Obama, should be spent.

“In the past, a lot of the decision-making on how these funds were spent was done at the state level,” said Burks. “This is an attempt to give mayors at the city level more input.”

The Serve America Act expands programs administered by the Corporation for National Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993, and provides for increased compensation for participants. The corporation’s programs, which include AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, engage an estimated 4 million Americans.

Besides Winfield, those selected to take part in the coalition include the mayors of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Washington D.C., West Palm Beach, Fla., Providence, R.I., Newark, N.J., Trenton, N.J., and Dublin, Ohio. Among the cities represented, Vicksburg has the smallest population, estimated at 26,000. The next least populous city is Dublin, with 38,500.

The former All Saints’ Episcopal School on Confederate Avenue this year became the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Southern Region Campus, one of five campuses in the nation. About 160 Americorps volunteers are based in the city.


Contact Steve Sanoski at