Niedzwiecki to Leave Position at Cape Cod Commission

BARNSTABLE – Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki has announced that he is departing what he admits to be “the greatest job [he’ll] ever have.”

Niedzwiecki, who has led the regional planning and regulatory agency for a decade, informed the Board of County Commissioners last week that he has accepted a position to take a job as Executive Director of the SouthField Redevelopment Authority beginning in early February.

“The decision to leave the Commission was the most difficult professional decision I’ve ever had to make,” said Niedzwiecki, “The Cape Cod Commission understands that Regional Planning Agencies need to be regional information agencies and planners have to be problem solvers.”

The project involves development planning for the 1,400-acre SouthField property in Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth. The property has already been permitted for 9 million square feet of commercial space as well as an additional 4,000 apartments, and has already put in a lofty, pie-in-the-sky bid to be home to Amazon’s new headquarters.

Niedzwiecki, 53, is even taking a pay cut in order to escape his current job, his new $172,000 salary is more than $3,000 dollars less than he was making at the commission.

Much of the last 10 years at the Cape Cod Commission have been spent planning for the region’s multi-billion dollar 208 water quality development. Niedzwiecki also oversaw strict regulations on lawn fertilizers, and the defeat of a proposed Lowes Home Improvement Store in Dennis.

His tenure at the commission has seen some controversy with several towns launching eventually failed efforts to escape the agency’s steely grasp during his leadership.

During his comments to commissioners on Wednesday, Niedzwiecki congratulated himself thoroughly on a job well done, particularly on his succession plan, which he says would allow the commission to survive the body blow of losing him.

“I came here with that with a charge to sort of look at the agency and to help it evolve,” he told the commissioners, “from an agency that was really very reliant on it regulatory capacity and have it be a community that engaged more but also to facilitate these larger regional discussions.”

The outgoing Executive Director spoke highly of his right-hand lady, Deputy Kristy Senatori, who will likely be named interim chief while the county conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

There’s a chance that the county commission may forego a full search altogether. At last week’s meeting Assembly of Delegates Dennis Representative John Ohman urged to board to hire Senatori, no questions asked, which as it turns out violates the county charter (Section 2-6 of the Home Rule Charter).

“At this point I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of appointing her as director,” said Commission Vice-Chairman Ron Beaty adding that he is committed to a full scale search for the new executive director, “I think that the people of the Cape deserve that.”

Vice-Chairman Beaty added that he sees no reason why the position requires a $175,000 salary, the highest of any county employee.

By DAVID BEATTY, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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