John Purcell/Recorder staff
Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa, center, poses with city employees Wednesday after he hosted a ceremony honoring them for their 25 years or more of service working for the city. There were 21 employees honored during the ceremony.

By JOHN PURCELL

Recorder News Staff

Rosanne Rusnica, a senior engineer aide, has worked for the City of Amsterdam for 36 years, but Wednesday was the first time she and other long-serving employees were formally recognized for their years of service.

“My whole adult life basically I’ve worked here,” Rusnica said. “It’s kind of hard to believe: 36 years.”

Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa presented certificates Wednesday morning to 21 city employees recognizing their years of service, with all those honored having worked 25 years or more. Villa said the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) offers a service to print a “Certificate of Public Service” for municipal employees who have worked a minimum of 25 years, with additional certificates offered in five-year intervals.

Amsterdam Police Chief Gregory Culick said while employees have received NYCOM certificates, it typically was left in an employee’s mailbox. Culick, who was honored for 29 years of service, was not aware of the certificates ever being handed out at a reception.

“For the mayor to do a formal ceremony and recognize everybody is a special honor,” Culick said. “It’s very nice to have a formal recognition.”

Villa said he had believed ceremonies were typically held, but he eventually learned the certificates had not been formally handed out. The reception held Wednesday in the lobby at city hall, where some refreshments and treats were offered.

“People deserve recognition after that length of service,” Villa said. “A lot of them have been instrumental in their job … and that takes dedication.”

Water Plant Operator Gregor Sawitzki, who has worked 26 years for the city, said receiving the formal recognition was an honor for him.

“Most people don’t really think about water unless when they turn it on it’s not there,” Sawitzki said. “It’s nice to be recognized for the work that you do.”

Sawitzki said there is a great working environment at the water filtration plant, which has a close knit group of colleagues.

Rusnica said her experience working for the city has been enjoyable, with her primarily working full-time in the city Engineering Department since being hired in 1981. Rusnica, 58, said she doesn’t have any immediate plans to retire because she likes coming to work.

“The people here are great to work with,” Rusnica said. “There’s always something different going on. All departments are busy, but ours has a number of different things.”

Villa said the amount of employees who’ve been with Amsterdam for 25 years or more shows people enjoy working for the city. He said several longtime employees grew up in the city, too.

“When you get a city job you tend to keep your roots here and many of them have,” Villa said.

Culick, an Amsterdam native, said he’s always worked within the city limits. Culick said he worked at a nursing home prior to entering law enforcement. He said “a handful” of officers have worked at the police department for many years.

“It’s amazing how quick the years went by,” Culick said. “It’s been a very challenging and rewarding career so far.”

City of Amsterdam employees honored for years of service

• Deputy Police Chief Victor Hugo — 39 years.

• Sr. Engineer Aide Rosanne Rusnica — 36 years.

• Sr. Water Plant Operator Keith Barkevich — 32 years.

• Sewer Maintenance Crew Chief John Iannotti — 32 years.

• Fire Battalion Chief John Paris — 32 years.

• Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Frederick Hidde — 31 years.

• Sanitation Foreman Timothy Dufresne — 30 years.

• Streets Foreman Anthony Leggiero — 30 years.

• Police Chief Gregory Culick — 29 years.

• Fire Battalion Chief Richard DePasquale — 29 years.

• Police Detective John DiCaprio — 29 years.

• Police Sgt. Thomas DiCaprio — 29 years.

• Fire Battalion Chief Peter McNamara — 29 years.

• Housing Code Inspector Thomas McQuade — 29 years.

• Police Sgt. Carl Rust — 29 years.

• Watershed Supervisor Lance Sherman — 29 years.

• Fire Chief Michael Whitty — 29 years.

• Fire Lt. Andrew Castler — 27 years.

• Chief Water Plant Operator Randy Gardinier — 27 years.

• Water Plant Operator Gregor Sawitzki — 26 years.

• Clerk Ernest Kielbasa — 25 years.