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Amherst’s human resource director to part ways in August

  • DONNA-RAE KENNEALLY



Staff Writer
Monday, August 08, 2022

AMHERST — Amherst’s human resources director will be departing by the end of August for a new job at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, continuing a recent trend of turnover in the position.

Donna-Rae Kenneally, who began her tenure in October 2020, said she will be heading to Holy Cross to advance her professional career, expressing appreciation for her time in Amherst.

“It has been a pleasure to be associated with an organization so dedicated to providing the highest quality municipal services, and it has been a particular honor to participate in helping to see the town through the challenges brought on by the pandemic these past two years,” Kenneally said.

Kenneally’s departure means she is the second successive human rights director to leave after less than two years working for the town. She replaced Evelyn Rivera-Riffenburg, who was in the job for just over a year. Before that, Deb Radway held the job for seven years before retiring.

Among the responsibilities for the human resources director are handling personnel recruitment, mediating between employees and management, and administering municipal compensation and classification plans.

An advertisement was posted on the town’s website, describing the position as full time with a starting salary between $84,000 and $112,000, depending on experience and qualifications.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman praised Kenneally. “In her two years with the town, Donna-Rae has made an indelible mark with her decisions, leadership, and mentorship,” Bockelman said, noting that she also brings kindness, understanding and professionalism to her interactions with employees, unions and the public.

Bockelman said Kenneally’s leaving illustrates the challenge for Amherst in competing with other employers who can offer higher pay, especially in a field like human resources.

“We continue to review our employment practices and salaries and will conduct an independent exit interview, as is our practice,” Bockelman said.

The departures of department heads after brief tenures raised concerns for the Town Council last September. Besides the human resources directors, there have also been short stints by public health and senior services directors, two town clerks and a principal assessor.