By LAINE GRIFFIN
Daily News-Record 1/22/19
HARRISONBURG — Amy Snider is ready to get to work.
Snider will take on the role as assistant to City Manager Eric Campbell by the end of this month. Along with other tasks, Snider will be in charge of customer service and citizen complaints, project coordination, special projects and City Council-city manager relations.
Her salary with the city will be $88,109, including benefits. The funding for the newly created position was approved in the 2019 fiscal year budget, which ends in June, according to Campbell.
Snider, a native of St. Lawrence County, N.Y., will begin her job with Harrisonburg on Jan. 30 after working for local government in Georgia for nearly four years.
“This opportunity is a phenomenal one,” she said. “I’m really excited to be able to serve Harrisonburg and be part of such a great team here.”
Snider is coming from DeKalb County, Ga., where she served as the lead policy analyst for the county’s Board of Commissioners for about two and a half years.
“This is where I had my eyes trained on when I was a policy analyst,” she said. “This is the next step for me to achieving my longer-term goals.”
Previous to that, she had a fellowship for over a year with the city of Smyrna, Ga., through the International City/County Management Association.
The ICMA’s intention is to be a training ground for young professionals who want to be in local government, Snider said. One of the big attractions she saw in Harrisonburg was its size, which is close to the population of Smyrna. As of 2017, based on the most recent estimates from the U. S. Census Bureau, Smyrna had a population of about 56,000, while Harrisonburg has more than 54,000.
In Harrisonburg, the 28-year-old will act as a chief of staff for the city’s executive leadership team, Campbell said. “One of the things I wanted this position to do is focus on performance measures and evaluations,” he said. “She can track what we are accomplishing for the city and justify that we are accomplishing what we say we are.” It was Snider’s research and analytical ability that made her stand out among over 130 applications for the position, Campbell said.
“It was a very competitive recruitment, and we weren’t expecting to receive as many applications as we did,” he said. “It was a pleasant surprise, but a bit overwhelming at the same time.” Snider received a bachelor’s degree with a double major in history and political science from Syracuse University and a master’s in public administration from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Campbell said Snider will be the point person to work with him to make sure his office is following through with council’s requests. “With [Councilman Sal Romero] wanting an interpreter for City Council meetings, that’s something she’d take the lead on,” Campbell said. At the Jan. 8 council meeting, Romero said he plans to have an interpreter present at future council meetings and was looking into ways to make that possible. Snider is excited to begin building close relationships with city staff and residents.
“The closer in proximity you are with the people you are serving, the more rewarding your work is for you,” she said. “I’m looking forward to putting my energy into helping the community and City Council achieve their goals for the current and future of Harrisonburg.” As someone who loves history and the outdoors, Snider said, living in Harrisonburg also will meet her personal interests.
“This is a vibrant historic area surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River, and in my opinion, it’s the most beautiful area in all of Virginia,” she said.
Although none of her family lives in the area, her husband, Craig Janney, is from Roanoke. Moving to the Friendly City, she said, will give her and her husband the opportunity to live a bit closer to loved ones.
On the walls of the Maxwell building at Syracuse, The Athenian Oath reminds students of their purpose. Upon graduation, each student receives a plaque with the oath, which Snider said she keeps in her office to ensure she doesn’t forget the importance of her job.
“We will ever strive the ideals and sacred things of the city. Both alone and with many: we will unceasingly seek to quicken the sense of public duty,” the oath reads. “We will revere and obey the city’s laws: we will transmit this city not only not less. But greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”