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June 12, 2014 - 1:37pm

City announces hiring of assistant city manager

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Gretchen DiFante.

Press release:

City Manager Jason Molino today announced his appointment of Gretchen DiFante as assistant city manager for the City of Batavia. DiFante was selected following a national search that resulted in 60 applicants.

As a 16-year resident of the City of Batavia, DiFante has held senior executive roles in Western New York businesses including: director of Efficient Customer Support for Rich Products Corp., in Buffalo; executive vice president at P.W. Minor, in Batavia; and as executive director of Agape Counseling Associates, in Rochester. She also maintains a consulting business, StandOUT Results, in which she has worked with chief executive level clients to facilitate the development of data-based strategic plans and design and provide leadership training for senior and mid-level managers and supervisors in approximately 23 different industries.

DiFante has served in several local leadership positions and is a current member of the Board of Education for the Batavia City School District. She is also a veteran with the Air Force Reserves, graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Genesee, past board member of the Genesee YMCA, Rochester Area Triathletes, and currently serves as an advisory board member to the Citizens Against Teen Suicide (CATS) group in Rochester.  

Pier Cipollone, 4th Ward council member who participated in the interview process, said, “I believe Gretchen has the management and leadership qualities that will allow her to assimilate into her new role easily. She has a familiarity with city staff and along with her abilities as a skilled facilitator should enable her to become productive almost immediately. I believe she will be a great asset to the City.”

City Manager Jason Molino added, “Gretchen has unique leadership skills that enable her to easily gain trust at every level within an organization while also being able to quickly understand and strategically assess the operations in multiple industries.”

She has provided periodic consulting to the City of Batavia over the past four years and was instrumental in helping to develop, expand and evaluate the City’s strategic plan that was recently awarded the Strategic leadership & Governance Program Excellence Award from the International City/County Management Association.

“As a resident and business owner, Gretchen has built very successful relationships with many businesses and organizations not only in Batavia and Genesee County, but throughout Western and Upstate New York,” Molino said. “When Gretchen’s leadership skills and experience were combined with her great sense of passion and enthusiasm to serve this community, she quickly became the obvious choice to join our management team. I am looking forward to working with her in achieving the City’s vision.”

Gretchen lives with her husband, David, a sargeant in the Rochester Police Department, and they have five children: Lauren (21), stationed with the Air Force at Nellis AFB in Nevada; John (20), a student at Genesee Community College; Nina (17), a graduating senior at Batavia High School; Elena (13) and Ava (9) who are in seventh and third grade at Batavia Middle School and John Kennedy, respectively.

They are members of Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia where Gretchen periodically volunteers time to conduct job search and interviewing workshops for newly graduated college students and adults seeking employment.

DiFante holds a BA in Communications from Auburn University and a MS in Management from Keuka College.

She will begin transitioning to the position in early July and will be full time by the first week of September at an annual salary of $75,950.

City Manager Jason Molino encourages all Batavia residents to celebrate this appointment and welcome DiFante to her new position.

Peter O'Brien
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All those leadership roles will really help her research how to deal with flood insurance...

This should have been a $20,000 job given to a grad student

jason reese
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Congratulations. I like the fact she's from Batavia, Ny

jeff saquella
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congratulations Gretchen....you'll do a great job

Mark Potwora
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City Manager Jason Molilno encourages all Batavia residents to celebrate this appointment and welcome DiFante to her new position.......Celebrate what... a position that many did not want....Let just see those flood insurance rates come down....Just another added government job the city didn't need...This will cost over 100,000 dollars a year..Hip Hip Hurray....What a waste.....Wait until the tax rate has to be increased to pay for this job...Lets see who is celebrating then..Maybe she can help water those plants downtown the city is paying for..

John Roach
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Mark, on the bright side, next year when the ward council seats are up for election, and we vote out some of the "Molino can do no wrong" members, we'll have somebody ready to replace Molino.

Dave Meyer
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Molino - $93,985, Kuzon (who everyone knows was/is the asst. city mgr) - $94,384 and now this position $75,950. That's a total of $264,319 plus benefits that we're spending to manage a city with less than 16,000 residents.

THAT is ridiculous.

John Roach
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Dave, you said the other day that the four (4) Council members who voted against this new position had no guts for not brining the issue up again. Will you show some "guts" and show up at Council on the 23rd ?

Dave Olsen
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Very good perspective Dave. I have nothing personal to write about these 3 people, I'm sure all are intelligent and competent; but if i were a Batavia resident, I'd certainly question why a city of 16,000 needs that much management, plus a police chief and fire chief. And a 9 member city council.

Mark Potwora
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I also though that the city was hiring someone who has had dealings with FEMA and flood regulations...At least have a engineering degree....Guess council was scammed again by Malino ....This sell by Molino was about flood insurance rates for those living in the south side..A background in selling shoes for P.W. Minor's won't cut it..What makes this job worth 75.000 dollars a year...Who set this rate..

John Roach
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Mark, the five Council members that voted for this job also voted to allow Molino to set that salary.

And you're right about the flood insurance. The rates already started going up and the new Asst. will not even be on board full time for a few more months. Then has to learn her new job, then learn all the FEMA rules and regulations on flood insurance. We lose a year on this. Council should have told Molino to just admit Sally was always the Asst. and then hire a professional consultant to handle the FEMA issues, someone who could have been working on this right now, today.

Jenna LaBarbera
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So we did a national search but just happened to come up with a Batavia resident and a good friend of Mr. Molino's? Imagine that.

Dave Meyer
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John, you seem to have targeted me for an unfortunate choice of words. I'm not going to apologize.
Maybe you should apologize for calling me 'stupid'.

You and I generally agree philosophically....hell, I even voted for you once.

No, I will not be attending the next council meeting because this is obviously a done deal. I applaud the votes of the 4 people who voted against this appointment but since young Mr. Hawley (who originally was opposed to this position) decided to change his vote I don't see any other council persons who are likely to listen to reason.

The majority on this vote are drinking the Molino kool-ade and are unlikely to be swayed.

I spoke to my council person, Mrs. Pacino, on this matter and she knew how I personally felt. She decided to vote with the majority.

I do attend council meetings and speak on matters which I care about, but I don't attend every meeting as you apparently do. Don't judge me for that....that's my choice.

I do take advantage of this forum to speak my views.

We do agree on one thing. Mr. Molino will rue this day come November. He has done many good things for this city, but the creation of this position is NOT one of them.

John Roach
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Dave, I called what you said stupid, not you. I do not like it when someone says other people have no "guts", but do not come out and take a stand themselves on the issue.

Don't want to attend meetings, no problem, the vast majority of people do not, which is partly why this kind of wasteful spending takes place. And you are right, this was a done deal. That's why it was not brought up again by the other four. There was zero chance of killing this.

And now we have to wait until next year to try and elect people who will remove Mr. Molino.

Mary E DelPlato
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funny cuz if i remember correctly we had an assistant city manager when molino was hired on....as i recall molino got rid of that position stating it wasnt mecessary....

John Roach
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Mary, when Molino was hired, he was the Assist. Manager. The manager left for another job in New England shortly after Molino was hired and Council gave the job to Molino. Council then hired two people to help bring Molino up to speed (mentors).

For years, Sally Kuzon was known as the Asst. Manager and the head of the DPW. Then out of the clear blue, we hear from Molino that she was never officially given the title of Asst. Manager.

So the tail wagged the dog and five Council members voted to do what Molino said and spend $75,000 plus benefits for a new position..

Mary E DelPlato
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ty for clarifying....that was Ed Flynn?

Mary E DelPlato
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im looking for population statistics compareable from today to say 1972...also city employee numbers from then compared to today

John Roach
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Mary, Ed Flynn was the Economic Development Coordinator.

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