Amherst names new HR director

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2019 11:21:27 AM

AMHERST —  A Holyoke woman will become part of Amherst’s senior management team when she assumes the role of human resources director in March.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman on Tuesday announced that Evelyn Rivera-Riffenburg, currently the human resources director for the city of Chicopee and an adjunct professor at Bay Path University, will succeed Deborah Radway. Radway, who began her tenure in July 2012, is retiring this month as the town’s human resources and human rights director.

Rivera-Riffenburg’s appointment was unanimously endorsed by the town council this week.

Bockelman said Rivera-Riffenburg brings broad experience, both in the public and private sector, in recruiting, talent management, labor relations, employee engagement and training and development.

“I am confident that she is the right person to take on the challenges ahead such as negotiating multiple collective bargaining agreements and recruiting a talented, diverse workforce in a strong economy,” Bockelman said.

Though Radway had a dual leadership role, Bockelman said he decided to separate the functions and will have a conversation with the Human Rights Commission about how to fill the human rights director position.

Bockelman said he expected a better pool of people interested in the job if it was strictly focused on human resources.

“It was important to recruit for stand-alone human resources, as that was going to attract a broader range of candidates,” Bockelman said.

Rivera-Riffenburg holds a master’s degree in communications and information management and is a certified human resources professional. In addition to her work at Chicopee City Hall, Rivera-Riffenburg has performed professional human resources management in the higher education, medical, distribution, and manufacturing sectors, in both union and non-union environments. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Human Resources Management Association of Western New England.

A screening committee received 26 applicants and put forward two finalists. Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek was chairman and other members included Personnel Board member Rebecca Woodland, Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring, Health Director Julie Federman, and Marie-Judith Rodriguez, Amherst College’s chief human resources officer, with administrative support provided by Libby Lass.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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