Assistant City Manager Pam Dmytrenko leaves legacy of compassion and consistency after 22 years with the city
Richfield, Minn. (August 25, 2021) – Most municipal employees start leaving their mark on a specific city on their first day of employment. In the case of departing Assistant City Manager, one has to look much farther back than her 22 years
with the City of Richfield because her contributions to the residents of the city started long before she first reported to work with the organization in 1999.
Dmytrenko first became active in the community as a member of the Planning Commission, for which she joined in 1994. She followed up her service with the commission by running for and winning a seat on the Richfield School Board.
“My mother was raised in Richfield and my grandmother worked for the Richfield public schools. They instilled a passion for this community and set a great example of civic engagement,” remarked Dmytrenko. “So, when I moved to the city it already meant so much to me and I wanted to get involved.”
In 1999, she brought her long-standing passion for the city and its residents to the Community Development Department as a community development specialist where she found herself performing research and helping administer the city’s many housing programs.
Less than a year later, she was asked by the city manager at the time, Samantha Orduno, to take on a larger role with the city and become her primary aide as the assistant to the city manager where she worked on a variety of high-level, organization-wide projects.
She was promoted to assistant city manager and human resources manager in 2009 where, besides overseeing the overall employee health of the organization, she took on the supervision of communication, technology, government buildings and the city’s motor vehicle/passport operations.
In Dmytrenko’s time as assistant city manager, she has navigated challenging projects from concept to completion. Most notably, this includes the building of the current municipal center, which opened in 2011, enhanced airport relations and the nurturing of the organization’s next crop of future leaders.
“Pam has been a vital member of the Richfield team for many years, and especially during the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic,” acknowledged City Manager, Katie Rodriguez. “She is someone that staff has turned to for support and encouragement, and she has always prioritized building relationships with her colleagues. She has been a big part of the Richfield family and will be missed.”
One of the first projects tasked to Dmytrenko after taking the reigns as assistant city manager in 2009 was improving the relationship the city had with the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
“In Richfield, being a neighbor to the airport, and all that involves, is just a part of daily life and for the longest time both residents and city officials did not have the most positive relationship with the busiest airport in the Upper Midwest,” explained Community Development Director John Stark. “However, Pam is one of the best relationship builders I have ever known and as soon as she started working with the airport, the whole tenor of the relationship changed for the better.”
Additionally, the City of Richfield has known three city halls since its establishment in the 1800s. The first seat of municipal services resided in a single-family home that resembled one of the thousands of ramblers that the city has become known for. The second city hall, which was located on the same property as its successor, was built in 1966 and remained in service until 2011.
“Our last city hall did a good job serving our residents for almost 50 years, but city services and residents’ needs were changing at the turn of the 21st Century,” remembered Police Chief Jay Henthorne. “As a city, we spoke with hundreds of residents, other cities, and our staff and came up with a design that would suit the needs of everyone that comes to us for services, now and into the future.”
Many cities, when looking to upgrade their city halls, have come to Dmytrenko for suggestions and advice, as well as a tour of the Richfield Municipal Center before embarking on their own renovation or building project.
“We would still be in the old city hall if it was not for the dogged work of Pam Dmytrenko,” said Public Works Director Kristin Asher. “The process required a lot of coalition and consensus-building. Pam was the best person for the job and was able to get people to understand what a benefit a new city hall would mean for the community.”
Where the new municipal center might be the brick and mortar legacy Dmytrenko leaves with the city, she asserts that her proudest contribution to the organization is helping recruit and retain a committed city workforce.
Since taking over the supervision of the human resources function of the city, Dmytrenko has seen hundreds of hires and promotions. She has also worked to ensure that the employee component of the city mirrors the changing demographics of the community, as much as possible.
“My goal has always been to support our staff through challenging times and successes and to make this a great place to work,” said Dmytrenko. “Our city and staff have gone through a lot of changes throughout the years, and I am proud of the organization we have built together, as a team.”
Dmytrenko is unsure what the future holds after a life spent dedicating herself to the people of Richfield, besides spending more time with her growing family which will be adding another grandchild this fall, but she intends to not be a stranger.
“I have made so many friends with business owners, residents and staff over the years,” exclaimed Dmytrenko. “I will always care about this community and try to stay connected. I’m still hoping they will still ask me to lead the Urban Wildland 5K race in the years to come.”
The city of Richfield would like to commend and thank Pam for her many years of service to the community.