SALEM — The corner office at Salem City Hall is a long way from Beacon Hill and farther still from Washington, D.C.
But Mayor Kim Driscoll can empathize with both President Barack Obama and Gov. Deval Patrick on at least one subject: the exodus of top aides and administrators.
While the names aren’t as well-known as Hillary Clinton and Timothy Geithner, the U.S. treasury secretary who is reported to be leaving soon, the loss of top administrators is felt just as keenly on the homefront.
Ten days ago, Jason Silva, the mayor’s chief aide and her former campaign manager, confirmed that he is leaving next month to become executive director of the Salem YMCA.
That news followed on the heels of another major announcement, the departure of Finance Director Rich Viscay, who helped steer the city out of a financial mess several years ago.
Richard Rennard, director of the Department of Public Services, retired in November. That was preceded in September by the exit of Doug Bollen, who ran one of the city’s largest departments, Parks, Recreation and Community Service, which includes the Council on Aging.
While most of the departures were unexpected, and all will be hard to fill, none is being cast as a sign of trouble in the Driscoll administration. It appears to be more a case of talented young people moving on as the mayor enters the final year of her second term, according to several people contacted by The Salem News.
All four departing employees had worked for the city at least seven years, or since Driscoll took office. With the exception of Rennard, who retired, the others are seen to be moving to new opportunities and challenges.
There is no doubt, however, that they are leaving demanding city jobs with long hours that often required them to deal with citizen complaints. In time, that can take its toll.