Weekly Feature

2018-06-07 / Front Page

Administrative changes underway in EA


The East Aurora Village Board is undergoing several major staffing changes, according to Mayor Peter Mercurio. During Monday’s Village Board meeting, the board approved the appointment of Cathryn “Cathie” Thomas as village administrator and Maureen Jerackas as clerk treasurer. Additionally, Mary Ann Arnold was appointed to fill the role of deputy clerk treasurer, a position formerly held by Linda Sheppard.

“It’s really a fresh start for the village office,” said Mayor Peter Mercurio on the changes.

Thomas will fill the position formerly occupied by Bryan Gazda following the decision by the board not to reappoint him to a two-year term. Mercurio previously said the decision not to reappoint Gazda had to do with the village wanting to go in a different direction.

Mercurio said he, Arnold, and Kim Lamarche, who served as village administrator under former Mayor David DiPietro, received between 55 and 60 applications and went on to interview about eight people before choosing Thomas. Mercurio said she will be a great fit.

“Everything she has done, her accomplishments, are things we have done or are working on or need to do,” he said.

Among those accomplishments is a 12-year term as supervisor of the Town of Webster, a suburb of Rochester, something Mercurio believes will be an asset as the village moves forward with plans to move into a shared building with the Town of Aurora.

“Since she has worked as a town supervisor in that capacity, that makes it even more of a great fit for her.”

Mercurio said Thomas has also had experience running villages in Delaware and Pennsylvania, where she served as the borough manager for the borough of New Hope until this past January. Mercurio says Thomas’ experience is one of the things that set her apart from the competition.

“She handled a build-out of a fire hall, she’s handled six to eight labor negotiation contracts. She’s just got a ton of experience, and it’s great to have somebody like that,” he said. He also added that she had glowing references.

“They said she’s just so easy to work with, she’s got a ton of energy and she works well with everybody,” he said.

Along with Thomas, another new face will join the Village Office. Jerackas will hold the position of clerk treasurer, while the current clerk treasurer, Arnold, moves into the space left by Deputy Clerk Treasurer Linda Sheppard. Sheppard, according to Mercurio, resigned earlier this year and took a job in Orchard Park. Mercurio said Arnold volunteered to fill the deputy position.

Jerackas currently serves as the clerk treasurer and village administrator for Depew, a position she’s held for three years. Initially, Mercurio said, Jerackas interviewed for the position of village administrator.

“She was such a strong applicant that while we went with Cathie because of her extensive experience, we thought we would be crazy not to bring Maureen into the village as well,” he said. “She’s navigated some interesting village issues in Depew, and we’re really excited to have her.”

Those issues include a call by some residents in 2016 to dissolve the Village of Depew and split the area between the towns of Lancaster and Cheektowaga. The proposal was rejected by village residents.

Mercurio admits that while the start of his term as mayor has been busy, he’s confident in the direction in which the village is heading.

“I’ve got big plans for the village,” he said. “I’m not afraid to do what it takes to make sure the village gets the service it deserves from this administration.”

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