PITTSFIELD -- The mayor will lose his right-hand person next month when Director of Administrative Services Donna Mattoon leaves to begin a new job with a former employer in New York City.
Mattoon, who was hired as the mayor's top office assistant shortly after Bianchi took office in January 2012, will work in a communications role with IBM, her employer from 1998 to 2005. At that time, she had an office in Albany, N.Y., she said, and traveled to the New York office of IBM on a weekly basis.
This time, Mattoon said, she welcomes the move to New York because "that's where four out of five of my children live now, and my granddaughter."
She expressed admiration for Bianchi and said she enjoyed serving in a key role in city government, but being distant from most of her family had begun to wear on her.
"This is all happening very quickly," Mattoon said Friday, referring to an unexpected email that came recently from her old boss concerning an upcoming opening in the New York office. "But as much as I love working for Mayor Bianchi, I love being with my kids more," she said.
Mattoon said it has slowly become apparent that "the kids aren't coming home often enough. I think I have to come to them. I just feel strongly this is the right way to go at this time."
Mattoon, 58, whose husband, John, died in 2009, has resided in nearby Caanan, N.Y., for many years. She grew up in Pittsfield and graduated from St. Joseph
"I am so happy for her," Bianchi said Friday. "As sad as we are to see her go, this is a great opportunity to be close to her family."
The mayor said he has begun preliminary discussions concerning "finding that next special person" to replace Mattoon, He said she's been "invaluable" in overseeing and helping to launch a number of initiatives, such as the community centers for providing services by police, human service organizations and government agencies.
The position has been budgeted at $50,000 per year.
"I feel badly about leaving City Hall," Mattoon said. "I have some good friends here. Sometimes this has not been an easy job, but it has always been very rewarding."
In an email Mattoon sent Thursday to officials and employees in city government, she said in part: "You don't always get to work alongside such good and dedicated people. Though much too brief, my City Hall experience has been very meaningful. More than anything, I have been deeply impressed by the competent and dedicated people who work here."
Mattoon also worked for The Berkshire Eagle from 1979 to 1997, and prior to accepting her current post, operated her own communications service for several years.
In 2010, she managed -- with help from other family members -- the successful campaign of her brother, Thomas Bowler, to become Berkshire County Sheriff.
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