Melissa Urias, the director of the municipality’s human services department, submitted her resignation yesterday. She has accepted a job at Princeton University as the associate director of community relations, and will begin her new job Aug. 2.
She is the latest employee to depart the municipality in a string of high-level resignations and retirements in recent months. Ben Stentz, the director of the recreation department, quit and his official last day is June 30. Gary DeBlasio, the director of youth and community services and executive director of Corner House, recently announced his retirement. Former administrator Marc Dashield retired in the spring, and former police chief Nick Sutter retired in the fall.
Urias will replace Erin Metro, who is retiring. She will work with Kristin Appelget, the director of community and regional affairs at the university. Duncan Harrison Jr., a former Trenton Councilman has also been hired as the assistant director for regional affairs.
A Princeton native who grew up in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, Urias attended Princeton public schools. She is a licensed social worker and has a master’s of social work with a concentration in community-based leadership from Fordham University, and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in public health from Rutgers University. She began working as interim director of human services in 2018 and was named director a year later. She managed all services and programs offered by the human services department, including public assistance, emergency homelessness assistance, pandemic relief, welcoming week, immigration outreach, the summer youth employment program, and holiday and back-to-school charitable drives. She was a clinical intern at Corner House Behavioral Health in Princeton from 2018 to 2019, and before that she was human services and affordable housing administrative assistant for the municipality from 2016 to 2018.