Next week Susan Blazejewski will start her new part-time position as Mayor Ann Thane’s assistant, tackling marketing and economic development issues in an effort to move the city forward.
The Common Council granted Thane the part-time, $17,000-per-year position at the last minute before adopting the city’s $23 million budget.
Blazejewski currently owns the Go Where I’ve Bean coffee shop on Church Street.
Alderman Joseph Isabel, R-1st Ward, the major voice against granting Thane an assistant position, said he still feels Thane does not need an assistant but said if the position is needed, Blazejewski would be the woman for it.
“I know Sue from her business on Church Street and my experience with her has been positive,” he said. “She’s an intelligent lady and I would expect if the job is needed she’ll do a good job at it.”
Blazejewski said she understands that her new position will be one of the most scrutinized in City Hall but said the pressure won’t get to her.
“I think once people see how much easier their jobs are they are going to say, ‘I can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner,’ ” she said.
Thane said she hopes to set measurable goals for the position to show the Common Council how much progress has been made with Blazejewski on board.
Thane said her first job will be to ensure the city’s Web site is set up. Blazejewski will be finding a Web site development firm and working closely with the company to develop the site. Thane said she hopes to have the site operational by the end of the year.
Blazejewski said she also wants to develop a logo and work on branding the city as a community strategically positioned near the state’s technological hubs in Albany, Saratoga and Utica.
She will also be in charge of pushing for progress on three of the city’s major projects including Via Ponte, updating the Master Plan and revitalizing the downtown area.
Blazejewski has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Marist College with concentrations in advertising, marketing and journalism.
The 1983 Amsterdam High School graduate has lived in Miami and Chicago. She was also a member of the National Women’s Bobsled Team, which she served as a marketing consultant. She also worked in sports marketing for ESPN.
Blazejewski said she moved back to the area when her father got sick and took a job with the Albany Conquest, where she worked as assistant general manager for one season before opening up her coffee shop on Church Street.
“I love my roots and I love to bring people back here,” she said. “All my friends from the outside call this place Mayberry.”
Blazejewski said dispelling the negative feelings toward Amsterdam will be a large part of the city’s future growth and success.
“Running the coffee shop, you hear so many extremes,” she said. “I always take it upon myself to bring everyone back to reality.”
Blazejewski said in order for the city to move forward those extreme views will have to learn to work together.
“You’re always going to have two camps,” she said. “Think of them as offense and defense. You need both to win the game, but they never play each other.”
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Categories: Schenectady County