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May 22, 2013

A helping hand for Peabody businesses

PEABODY — Mayor Ted Bettencourt went in-house choosing Julie Rydzewski as the city’s first “business liaison,” the person responsible for making it easier to make money in Peabody. Rydzewski, 30, grew up in Peabody and has worked at City Hall — initially as a high school intern — for three mayors, including Peter Torigian and Mike Bonfanti.

She chatted with The Salem News recently about her new position.

What’s your understanding of what this job is supposed to be like?

It’s about making the experience of conducting business here in Peabody a positive one. It’s eliminating frustration for businesses dealing with the city. They’ll know that their calls are answered. The object is to keep them here and keep them happy.

What sort of work did you do at City Hall to prepare you for this job?

Mayor Pete hired me in 1999. I worked up in his office. Every day he’d come in with a smile and a joke. After high school I had my heart set on a job at Hanscom Air Force Base. It was a job that included an hour of physical activity. But I was offered a job here in the treasurer’s office and I took it. After that I became the grants manager. And Mayor Bonfanti gave me a place on the Licensing Board. I think he was throwing me a challenge.

How so?

Well, I learned a lot about the laws. Which will help in this job. I familiarized myself with business practices and business in Peabody. And then there’s the connection with the state — I dealt with the ABCC (Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission) and I met with the attorneys around town who represent the liquor stores and restaurants. I’m a little sad to give that up. I liked working with the people on the Licensing Board.

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