After more than three years as Jamaica Plain’s mayoral liaison, neighborhood-native Colleen Keller announced she is leaving the city’s neighborhood services office this week to take a job at Harvard School of Public Health.
“It is with mixed emotions that I write that I am leaving … and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for making the last three years truly special,” Keller wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
Neighborhood services department director Jay Walsh said the office has been reviewing potential replacement candidates for the past week, but, with Keller's final day being Friday, does not expect to have a new coordinator hired to transition seamlessly.
While the office hopes to fill the vacancy as soon as possible, its top priority is finding the best possible candidate to fill the position, he said. In the meantime, Keller’s responsibilities will be shared on an interim basis among several other liaisons.
In Nov. 2007, Keller took on the City Hall position of neighborhood coordinator of Jamaica Plain, where she was born and raised. There are currently 17 coordinator positions in Boston’s Office of Neighborhood Services assigned to be the mayor's eyes and ears; the primary contact for constituents of a given neighborhood and/or cultural community to communicate with the Mayor's Office. Some coordinators cover multiple neighborhoods and/or cultural communities.
An alum of Boston Latin School and George Washington University, the 25-year-old described holding the position as “an honor” and her departure a “bittersweet goodbye.”
“I am lucky to have been afforded this opportunity to serve in the neighborhood where I grew up,” she wrote in the e-mail, before concluding, “Your dedication to this community has made Jamaica Plain the greatest place to live and work. Your commitment to community involvement has made my job easier and certainly more interesting. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Many of you started out as constituents and I am thankful now to call you friends. I hope that we’ll see each other around the neighborhood.”
Until Keller’s permanent replacement is hired, Jamaica Plain residents seeking assistance can call the neighborhood services department’s main number, 617.635.3485.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at firstname.lastname@example.org.