Peekskill Planning Director Anthony Ruggiero will hand in his letter of resignation today after 12 years with the city.
It wasn’t an easy decision for Ruggiero, 45, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take on a larger role as Putnam County’s commissioner of planning, development and public transportation. He replaces John Lynch, who retired from the position earlier this year.
“It was a very hard decision to make, but it’s a great opportunity to head a county position,” said Ruggiero, who originally hails from Carmel, NY and currently lives in Fishkill, NY said. “It’s a department that’s in transition and I’ll have my chance to put my stamp on it. ”
Prior to serving as Peekskill’s director of planning, Ruggiero served as a junior planner with the Town of Poughkeepsie from 1997 to 1999 and Beekman’s town planner in 1999 before coming to Peekskill as an assistant city planner in 2000.
Ruggiero served as assistant city planner until he was promoted to the position of city planner in 2006. He was eventually named the city’s director of planning in 2009.
Ruggiero, who is married and has two daughters, said he will see his annual salary increase from about $105,000 to about $112,000. In Putnam, he will oversee a staff that’s expected to increase from three to seven or 8 people.
At its height, Ruggiero said he oversaw a staff of about 13 people in Peekskill's planning department.
Ruggiero said he is proud of the work he’s done with the city during his time in the planning department. That work includes the progress made on the city’s waterfront development and the addition of restaurants and retail businesses in the city’s downtown area.
He regrets not being to stick around to see the Paramount Center for the Arts up and running again, but looks forward to the work he’ll be doing in Putnam County.
He acknowledged that the city will face some challenges moving into the new year.
“There are going to be some challenges with the budget and with various personnel leaving and the re-organizational process,” Ruggiero said. “The challenge will be making sure Peekskill continues in the right direction while working through that and all the major project we have on the plate.”
Although meetings and public comments can get heated from time to time, Ruggiero said he didn’t mind the public scrutiny.
“The taxpayers needs to stay involved and vocal,” Ruggiero said. “Ultimately, I work for them and everyone needs to be involved. Getting various opinions will make any project better. I always welcome talking to residents and getting their point of view.”