By STEVE JONES Staff writer
A second department head at City Hall is out in less than a month. This time it’s Diane Shoemaker, the head of the Department of Community and Economic Development, who gave her retirement notice to Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr. Tuesday, he said today.
"She is retiring," said Fusco. "She came in and said she’s retiring." She didn’t tell him why, he said. "She’s ready for something else, I guess." Her outgoing salary is $72,453.
Shoemaker did not return telephone calls before press time.
Shoemaker was hired by the city under then Mayor Joseph A. Griffo on March 25, 2001, as a grant administrator. She came from the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. She was provisionally promoted to senior planner on May 5, 2003, the permanently on Jan. 13, 2005. The next day, Shoemaker was promoted to deputy director of community development. She was appointed by then Mayor James F. Brown as head of the department at the start of 2007.
"I wish her the best, and she’s offered to help out," said Fusco. He said the city and department will "move on from here."
Shoemaker’s departure comes 15 days after the resignation of Parks Director Richard A. Miller. Another department head hired by Griffo, Miller is now an editor for the Daily Sentinel.
Fusco said he’s begun the process of finding a new department head, but noted that it is extremely early, since it’s only been two days since Shoemaker’s notice. Asked if he is leaning toward promoting from within or hiring from outside City Hall, Fusco said: "We’ll look at all options." The mayor said he’s been in touch with County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and development professionals about how to handle all the projects that are ongoing, with assurances from those officials that they will help with the workload if the need arises. However, "the group that is in place," said Fusco, "is very competent."
The Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2012 budget is $305,855, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The department is primarily funded by grants obtained by the city, with millions of dollars coming in annually for projects, including funding that pays parts of many departmental salaries.