While she didn’t grow up in Batavia, Jill Wiedrick nevertheless considers her appointment as assistant city manager as a homecoming since she will be returning to the place where she spent seven years as a senior planner with the Genesee County Planning Department.
“I can’t wait to move back to the community and be part of it again. We’re really excited,” Wiedrick said by telephone Monday -- two days before the Elma native continues her career in government as a key member of the City of Batavia’s administrative staff.
Wiedrick (photo at right) said she came to understand “how great Batavia was" by having lived and worked here from 2006-13.
“Part of the reason (for taking the city position) is that my husband and I have two young kids and I’d like them to grow up a little bit the way I did,” said Wiedrick, who graduated as Jill Babinski in 2000 from Iroquois Central School. “I grew up in a small community – not that there’s anything wrong with the City of Rochester; I think it’s fantastic – but we wanted to try something different.”
She also indicated she decided to leave her job as manager of zoning for the City of Rochester to be closer to her parents, who continue to live in Elma.
“And, professionally, I’ve been really interested in city management and other facets of government. So, this seems like something that perhaps that I would enjoy and be successful at,” she said.
Education Includes Professional Certificate
A graduate of Geneseo State College, Wiedrick received her master’s degree in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning and, this spring via online distance learning, earned a professional certificate in Municipal Finance from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
She began employment with the City of Rochester as senior city planner in November 2013 before moving up to zoning manager in February 2020. She is credentialed with the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Wiedrick said that she relished her time as a Genesee County planner.
“I learned so very much and became such great friends with everyone. Jim Duval (the former planning director) was my first boss there and I cannot say enough awesome things about him. He continues to be a strong person in my life and a mentor,” she offered.
“And obviously, I worked with (current Planning Director) Felipe (Oltramari), who brings so much to the table in terms of helping the county and its municipalities be successful and how they want to look in the future.”
Oltramari said he was impressed with Wiedrick’s positive attitude and work ethic during her time at the planning department.
“Everyone always had good things to say about her work,” he said. “She was a hard worker -- very passionate about her work -- and I’m really glad that she is back in the area.”
Previously Interacted with City Manager
Wiedrick also interacted with City Manager Rachael Tabelski when the latter was employed as the marketing director with the Genesee County Economic Development Center.
“I got to know Rachael when I worked on projects with the GCEDC,” Wiedrick said. “On occasions we would be at the same meetings and run in the same circles, as far as development.”
Wiedrick said she is keen on economic development, stating that GCEDC officials and others realized that the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park project in the Town of Alabama was a long-term venture.
“Going into it, we knew that we weren’t going to see development occur immediately,” she said. “A lot of the things that you do in any sort of development is that you’re making an investment that is intended to be long term and to be developed over a number of years.”
She compared it to the planting of a tree.
“You don’t plant that tree for yourself; you plant it potentially for your children,” she said. “Much of development tends to work that way. In Western New York in particular, we’re planting the seeds now and we’re reaping the benefits maybe five or 10 years out.
“A good example is the City of Buffalo. Over the past 20 years, they’ve done a lot of small things and now we’re seeing the resurgence of Buffalo. Now, people are going, ‘Wow, how did this happen?' It has been calculated and people are taking steps knowing that we’re not going to see the benefits of these actions for a number of years.”
Promoting Genesee County
Wiedrick agrees that the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will go a long way to expanding the city’s appeal and she is eager to have a role in its rejuvenation.
“To be a part of such a tremendous team, I feel that I am going to learn so very much from, and to have an impact on a place that is near and dear to my heart is incredibly exciting,” she said.
“I would tell colleagues from the City of Rochester, 'you’ve got to go to Batavia. You’ve got to check it out. It’s not just farmland. They just laugh at me and say, ‘OK. How did they do that in Genesee County?’ "
As the assistant city manager, Wiedrick will be responsible for various projects, including administrative services, organizational risk management, organizational values, community/neighborhood development, public relations, information technology and implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning software. She also will help draft the annual budget and take part in capital planning initiatives.
Her starting salary has been set at $91,800.
Tabelski said that Wiedrick’s extensive background in land use, planning, community engagement, policy development and budgeting as well as her proficiency with technology mesh well with the requirements of the city position.
Putting Technology to Good Use
“Jill brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through her professional roles in government including with the Genesee County Planning Department and City of Rochester Zoning Department,” Tabelski said. “She will make an immediate impact to the city organization -- focusing on supporting the ongoing software implementation projects, neighborhoods, community development initiatives, and administrative needs.
“She is a positive, outgoing professional who will participate with residents and businesses to make improvements. I am glad she choose the City of Batavia to call home, and look forward to working with her.”
Wiedrick said she has an eye on utilizing technology to enhance the quality of living in Batavia and the surrounding area.
“One of the things that I’m excited about working on is community development efforts, and I’m also going to be working a lot with technology – which I am very comfortable with,” she said. “What I’m intrigued about -- and have been for the majority of my career in government – is what forms of technology can be used to make things easier for the public and make things easier for staff.”
Wiedrick is married to Andrew Wiedrick, a quality assurance analyst at Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Rochester. The couple has a son, Ty, who is turning 6 this month, and daughter Jolene, who turned 3 in May. The family is in the process of moving to the city.
An accomplished violinist, she plans on performing with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra in the near future.
File photo: Jill Wiedrick performing with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Howard Owens.