By Alan Burke
---- — PEABODY — The city continues to promote from within, as Mayor Ted Bettencourt last week named Julie Rydzewski of the Community Development Department to the new position of business liaison.
“We cast a wide net to find the right person for this important role,” Bettencourt said in a statement. “It turns out the right person was already here.”
The same thing happened Tuesday when schools Superintendent Joe Mastrocola named the assistant principal at Peabody High School, Eric Buckley, to the top spot at the school.
The business liaison position is intended to make life easier for people seeking to do business in Peabody. For example, the liaison is expected to help streamline the sometimes-daunting process by which businesspeople obtain permits from multiple city departments.
Rydzewski comes to the job after 13 years at City Hall and six in the Community Development Department, a section of city government that already deals with business concerns.
Bettencourt wants Rydzewski to help draw more taxpaying businesses to areas like downtown Peabody and the Centennial Drive industrial park. The mayor had intended the new appointee to be paid out of funding previously allocated to a community development employee who recently left the city.
Bettencourt explained that he was seeking a candidate with a passion for the city to match his own. That and more came through, he said, with Rydzewski.
“What stood out with Julie was her knowledge of the city and her understanding of where the city needs to go,” he said. “She loves this city and wants it to succeed. And it really showed.”
No word was given on whether someone will be hired to take over Rydzewski’s current responsibilities.
A graduate of Merrimack College, Rydzewski began her tenure as a paid intern for the late Mayor Peter Torigian. After college, she won the position of senior treasury clerk under Mayor Michael Bonfanti. In addition, she’s worked with the Board of Health, the Licensing Board and the Community Development Authority.
“She’s just absolutely awesome,” said Licensing Board Chairman Minas Dakos, praising her “immense help” in running the board. “I’m very happy for her. ... She’s been terrific.”
“Julie really stood out,” Bettencourt said in his statement. “Her credentials are obviously very impressive, and her knowledge of the Peabody landscape — both the inner workings of municipal government and of the community at large — is what sets her apart. ... Julie Rydzewski will be a terrific champion for Peabody’s business community.”