The city of Frederick will hire a former Goodwill Industries employee to oversee the city’s new Department of Housing and Human Services.
Mayor Michael O’Connor announced the appointment of Ramenta Cottrell as the new department’s director late Thursday afternoon.
“Ramenta is a connector, an evaluator and a passionate leader who has the ability to successfully leverage strategic partnerships, to streamline interagency services, and to create efficiencies within existing funding services,” O’Connor said Thursday.
Cottrell comes to the city from Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, where she was director of workforce development.
Although she’s not scheduled to start her new position until Oct. 5, she said she’s already working on coming up with strategies.
“I’ve been dreaming about ideas,” she joked Thursday.
The new agency will combine the Frederick Community Action Agency’s work with human services and the Community Development Block Grant’s program for housing.
The city’s hope is that combining the two departments will provide a chance for a second look at all of the programs the FCAA ran under former director Mike Spurrier, and make any changes, that might be needed.
Spurrier was removed from the position in November after more than 30 years.
The city agency oversees a variety of services, including a health center, a food bank and a weatherization program for residents’ homes.
“The Frederick Community Action Agency has provided food, shelter, medical care, housing, and other forms of assistance since 1968,” O’Connor said Thursday. “As the needs of our community have evolved, it was clear that we needed a governmental agency that could grow with those needs.”
Cottrell said one of her first priorities will be to meet the staff and get to know them.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be important to connect with the employees first because they’re the ones providing services, she said.
The department needs its workers to be stable so they can help others, she said.
Along with her work, she’s an active member of the Board of Directors for New Spire Arts, and she has served on the 2020 Strategic Planning Steering Committee at Frederick Community College.
Her new job provides a natural transition, since much of her previous work focused on working with non-profit organizations.
“I kind of live and sleep community services,” she said.