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The City of Batavia officially has a new assistant city manager.

City Manager Jason Molino today announced via a news release his appointment of Gretchen DiFante. The 16-year Batavia resident was selected following a national search that resulted in 60 applicants.

Ward 4 Council member Pier Cipollone, who participated in the interview process, said DiFante’s a great addition to the city’s staff.

“I believe Gretchen has the management and leadership qualities that will allow her to assimilate into her new role easily,” he said via a news release. “She has a familiarity with city staff and along with her abilities as a skilled facilitator should enable her to become productive almost immediately. I believe she will be a great asset to the City.”

City Manager Jason Molino echoed Cipollone’s comments in support of DiFante’s appointment.

“Gretchen has unique leadership skills that enable her to easily gain trust at every level within an organization while also being able to quickly understand and strategically assess the operations in multiple industries,” he said via the release.

It was a position Molino petitioned the council to approve – which it did for the upcoming budget by a 5-4 vote back in March. Ward 6 council member Rosemary Christian withdrew her support of the position during budget negotiations. Joining her in opposition were Ward 5 Councilwoman Kathleen Brigs and Councilmen-at-large Eugene Jankowski and John DeLeo.

The city says DiFante will begin transitioning to the position in early July and will be full time by the first week of September at an annual salary of $75,950.

The position was eliminated several years ago in a cost cutting move.

"I think now that the city is on a more stable financial footing we are in a position where the council is looking to take on initiatives that are going to help progress the community forward, such as quality of life issues and neighborhood improvement. In order to provide these services, you need the staff to do it,” Molino said in January of the proposal to add back the assistant city manager position.

DiFante has held senior executive roles at several western New York businesses and also maintains a consulting business. Gretchen has served in several local leadership positions and is a current member of the Board of Education for the Batavia City School District.

She is also a veteran with the Air Force Reserves and a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Genesee.

“As a resident and business owner, Gretchen has built very successful relationships with many businesses and organizations not only in Batavia and Genesee County, but throughout western and upstate New York,” Molino said. “When Gretchen’s leadership skills and experience were combined with her great sense of passion and enthusiasm to serve this community, she quickly became the obvious choice to join our management team. I am looking forward to working with her in achieving the City’s vision.”

DiFante lives with her husband, David, a Sergeant in the Rochester Police Department, and they have five children: Lauren, 21, who is stationed with the Air Force at Nellis AFB in Nevada; John, 20, a student at Genesee Community College; Nina, 17, a graduating senior at Batavia High School; and Elena, 13, and Ava ,9, who attend Batavia schools.

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