Mayor looking for new community coordinator

WESTFIELD – Mayor Brian J. Sullivan will conduct a search to fill a position recently held by Diana McLean, who served as the city’s Community Development Grants Coordinator.
Sullivan said he plans to hire a person who will focus on bolstering the city’s social media presence and act as a liaison to the mayor’s office and City Council. The successful candidate will also represent the city at community meetings.
The newly created position will require no new funding but only a title change. Applicants must also have solid marketing and networking experience.
The coordinator will meet regularly with residents and members of the business community, a critical component.
“Times have changed in government. The more you use social media, the better you are,” said Sullivan. “This person will wear many, many hats.”
He praised McLean’s work performance during her time in the Community Development Office.
The mayor said he spoke with City Councilor Cindy C. Harris, who chairs the Personnel Action Committee, and Council President Brent Bean II about the position.
“Both of them are on board and supportive at this point,” he said.
Sullivan called the marketing and social media aspect of the position “extremely important,” particularly in trying to draw the attention of state and federal officials.
“There’s grant opportunities we sometimes either failed to get or have not applied for. This person will be another arm to that,” he said.
The new position will allow Community Development Director Peter Miller more time to secure state and federal funds, including Community Block Grants, said Sullivan.
“If you look at any city right now,they have that person, especially connected to the mayor’s office,” he said.
The mayor and city officials are working out the salary range for the position. He expects the salary will be less than what McLean earned.
Sullivan wants the position filled immediately, as several projects are scheduled to begin in the coming months, including breaking ground in mid-May on the PVTA’s planned transportation pavilion.
He also wants to move forward on demolishing the Flahive Building on Arnold Street.
In the past weeks, Sullivan has spoken with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-MA, Congressman Richard Neal, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito about the need to redevelop the city’s downtown.
“I’m not shy to point out what we need and asking for help and direction, and how we get some business and community development down in that area,” said Sullivan. “It’s been years.”
On Thursday, Sullivan will meet with Southwick town officials about the wastewater treatment agreement between the town and Westfield. The town’s commercial contract expires with Westfield in two years.
The mayor said the face-to-face meeting will help him get better acquainted with Southwick officials.
Last week, the City Council approved a resolution in support of Sullivan’s meeting with Southwick officials.
He will be joined by several city officials, including Department of Public Works Superintendent Dave Billups.
“Southwick is our neighbor and we’ll do everything we can to keep those lines of communication open,” said Sullivan. “I want to have great relationships with the members over there.”
The City of Westfield recently raised sewer fees on ratepayers.
Sullivan also plans to seek state transportation money for traffic improvements near the Shortstop Bar and Grill on Route 20.
“There’s private money looking to develop there, but we need a traffic light right on Route 20 because the congestion is just very busy,” he said. “We can’t get more business back there if we don’t take care of traffic flow.”
He will ask the Mass. Department of Transportation for financial assistance, around $1.2 million, to improve the vehicle flow on that stretch of Route 20.

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