Amherst announces organizational changes to recreation department

The Town of Amherst’s Recreation Department is getting a makeover that town officials believe will continue to bolster the well-being of the community while building on the momentum created by former recreation director Bill Schurman.

The changes come in the wake of Schurman’s departure and the interim changes that were put in place during the summer in his absence, Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said while announcing the changes on Sept. 26, 2019.

One of those interim measurers saw the overall responsibility for recreation facility management and horticulture transferred to the Deputy CAO-Operations. This structure worked well during the summer and is being made permanent.

In addition, the town has decided to cancel the recently posted competition for the Director of Recreation and eliminate the position. It has also decided to create two, new, full-time positions: Manager of Community Well-Being and a second Culture, Marketing and Events Co-ordinator.

After considering the impact of eliminating the director’s position, the net additional human resources cost will be in the $20,000 range, Herrett said.

The Manager of Community Well-Being will supervise a staff of three – two culture, marketing and events co-ordinators and the active-living co-ordinator. The manager will oversee recreation programming, marketing, events and be the point person on community engagement, building and maintaining relationships with various levels of government and community stakeholders.

Maintaining and enhancing pride in the community through a variety of programs and events will also be a key responsibility of the Manager of Community Well-Being, Herrett said.

The manager will report to the Chief Financial Officer.

The addition of another staff person to support culture, events and marketing recognizes the importance the town places on community and downtown business events that aggressively markets Amherst as a great place to live, work and play, Herrett said. It also provides an additional resource to ensure that these services can be provided in a sustainable way.

The position will report to the Manger of Community Well-Being.

Open competitions for both positions will be posted shortly.

“There certainly is a recognition on the part of the town that former director Bill Schurman raised the bar in service provision in a number of areas, particularly community engagement and events,” Herrett said. “These changes are intended to provide and focus resources to those areas in a way that allows us to sustain the momentum that he and his team built over the past five years.”