Chelle Putzer formally approved as new Rec director

Chelle Putzer (photo courtesy of the City of Piedmont)

PIEDMONT — The City Council on Monday night formally approved Chelle Putzer’s contract to serve as the city’s new recreation director.

Putzer, who is leaving her position of six years as recreation and community services director with the City of Albany, is set to assume her new job Dec. 2. She stands to earn $179,112 annually, plus benefits, with a cost-of-living increase of 3 percent on July 1, 2020.

Putzer was chosen by the City Council from among 48 applicants in what City Administrator Sara Lillevand described Monday night as a “very competitive” process.  Six applicants were interviewed by a panel of city staff and the community; the final two, including Putzer, were interviewed by the City Council.

Finding Putzer, Vice Mayor Teddy Gray King said, was a months-long process that started shortly after Lillevand was elevated from the recreation director position to city administrator in June. 

“It was no easy feat,” King said.

Erin Rivera had been serving as interim recreation director since Lillevand’s promotion. City Councilwoman Betsy Smegal Andersen praised Rivera’s work during that period.

The Piedmont Recreation Department has a high profile in this small city. Among its programs are the Schoolmates onsite after-school care program, the community pool and its various programs, the city’s tennis and pickleball courts, the Kennelly Skate Park and various other programs for kids and adults.

Putzer, who has also served as a recreation and community services manager and supervisor in that city, is also a former head softball coach at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, a onetime assistant softball coach at San Jose State University and a former volunteer assistant softball coach at Stanford University.

“What’s not on her resume,” Lillevand said Monday, “is that (Putzer) is a natural leader who brings people together.”

Putzer was not at Monday’s Piedmont council meeting, but instead at the Albany City Council meeting. She was on the agenda there, too, receiving formal recognition for her 16 years working for that city. It took Albany Vice Mayor Peggy McQuaid longer to read a list of projects Putzer helped see to fruition than it took for Putzer to give Albany a heartfelt goodbye and tell her co-workers how much she would miss them. Her last day in Albany is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Reach Sam Richards at


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