Menlo Park hires full-time 'community engagement' director

Cherise Brandell, a 19-year employee of Battle Creek, Michigan, has been hired as Menlo Park's "community engagement" director -- a new full-time position formed to make the city's decision-making process more inclusive.

Ms. Brandell, 50, currently has a similar job in Battle Creek, serving as the director of the city's Neighborhood Services Department since 2003. She's worked in the areas of public information and community engagement for the city of 55,000 residents since 1989.

Ms. Brandell will start in the new Menlo Park position on May 12, according to Menlo Park Personnel Director Glen Kramer. She will be paid about $101,000 per year -- an increase from the $75,000 a year she made in Battle Creek.

The Menlo Park City Council earmarked funds for the community engagement post during its 2007-08 budget discussions last June as part of a larger effort to improve government transparency.

"Clearly, there's a lot of interest [in Menlo Park about government and people having a say, and that's really exciting," Ms. Brandell told The Almanac, noting that she attended the city's March 6 El Camino Real community workshop, and was "wowed" by the some 100 people that attended the meeting.

In Battle Creek, residents regularly meet with neighborhood services staff to raise any issues and concerns, and the department ensures the issues get proper attention from the city, Ms. Brandell said.

She said besides improving the relationship between neighbors and local government, the department has worked with residents to design new recreation facilities, prioritize street repairs and other infrastructure improvements, and increase accountability around rental properties.


Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm

$101k?? Is that a joke?

Maybe this is a misprint.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Food Party! 420
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,306 views

What Are Your Gifts that Must Be Shared?
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 474 views


Readers' Choice ballot is here

It’s time to decide what local business is worthy of the title “Almanac Readers' Choice” — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 19th issue of The Almanac.