Community & economic development director, program specialist hired

Mayor Michael Villa has announced the hiring of two new staff members to positions that city officials have said are essential to the implementation of the $10 Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant which was recently awarded to the City of Amsterdam.

In a press release issued earlier today, Villa named Amanda Bearcroft as the new community and economic development director. Bearcroft previously held the position of senior planner/geographical information system specialist at the Montgomery County Business Development Center.

“Amanda brings with her a distinct skill set that will lead our city’s continued economic growth and will assist with or $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative,” wrote Villa.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossefort wrote, “Our Montgomery County Business Development Center team is losing a hardworking employee Amanda Bearcroft, but the City of Amsterdam is gaining a highly qualified individual to oversee the DRI implementation as the community and economic development director.”

“Amanda’s extensive planning and GIS background make her a great candidate for this position and I’m confident in her skill set and ability to guide the city through this process,” added Ossenfort.

The CEDD position has been vacant for over two years, as the council and Mayor Villa de-funded the position in January 2016. The last person to hold the position was Robert von Hasseln, who currently serves as the city’s historian.

The council restored funding to the position in the 2018-2019 budget, setting the line for the salary at $67,000. In April, Villa said that although the city had shifted to relying on Montgomery County and the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency to handle economic development projects, that having a dedicated city staff member would bolster the city’s case for the DRI award.

Michele Pawlik was named as the new program specialist for the marketing, tourism, and recreation department. Pawlik previously held the position of marketing coordinator at the MCBDC.

“Both Amanda and Michele have worked closely with the city over the past three years while they were employed by Montgomery County,” wrote Villa.

Last week, the council, allotted a $30,000 budget line to cover the program specialist salary for the remaining nine months of the fiscal year.  Villa said that Pawlik will split her time assisting both the community and economic development department and the marketing, tourism, and recreation department.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.