Jamie Blot has been with the Village of Colonie since 2003 and Village Clerk since 2016. In that capacity, she is in charge of the Village Hall staff as well as sending and receiving property tax, water and sewer bills, overseeing the paying of village’s bills, is the village’s Freedom of Information Law request officer and reviews and issues permits for everything from a block party to lawn sprinklers. She is the human resource manager for village employees. She is also the village assessor and in that role she reviews all property transactions and building permits to set a tax rates for residents of the village prior to formulating a tentative assessment role each year. The South Colonie graduate and her husband David live in the Town of Colonie with their three sons.
Q: You seem to be the go-to person in Village Hall for anyone who wants or needs anything from village government. What is the most satisfying aspect of your job? The most challenging?
A: I enjoy the daily interactions with residents and our businesses. We have a great group of people who live and work in the village, and each one is unique and presents a different question, request or dilemma to be answered or solved. It’s very satisfying to help people. I guess in turn the most challenging aspect is when you can’t satisfy someone, but with our great staff, very rarely can we not find a solution or an answer for our community.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing village government today?
A: As around the whole country, with the ongoing pandemic, financial burdens are becoming a concern for everyone, including local governments. Much of our revenue comes from sales tax, and without business and stores being open, much of that revenue is cut. We are resilient and have really reviewed how we conduct everyday business and made changes needed at this point in time to be able to continue on with most of the services we have always offered.
Q: You have two children in South Colonie schools and for a time served on the Board of Education. What are the biggest challenges facing public education right now?
A: In this moment in time, I think again, a big concern and challenge faced by the public education system is the ongoing pandemic. The uncertainty of schools remaining open when numbers of infections are on the rise all over the country. Remote learning capabilities are in place and some of our middle and high school students are using that feature now, but I think in-person education is very important. The social aspect of it, and unfortunately in some cases school for some children is their safety net and food source, and when in-person education isn’t taking place those children are of major concern. I think South Colonie is doing a tremendous job keeping the public informed and assured that their children are getting the education they need, in a safely controlled environment. I think the kids are doing a great job too. My two older sons are in elementary school and they wear their masks like little champs, as do their classmates. If they can do it, we all can do it.
Q: The village seems to fly under the radar and epitomizes the “It Takes a Village” philosophy of life. What is your favorite part about the village.
A: My favorite part of the village is the dedication everyone has here, from the residents to our staff. I have always lived in the Town of Colonie and at a young age didn’t even realize there was a village. In my later years, especially working for the village, I see the dedication that our Village Board gives to its community. The Village Board is out there everyday meeting with the public, addressing their concerns and really making the village “a Place to be Proud of.” Our employees too, make such a difference in the community. I feel like we can really dedicate such attention to our residents and their needs with our vast departments. With our Senior Center, Recreation Center, Fire Department, Outreach Center and Department of Public Works, we really have coverage for addressing anything that comes across our desks. There is always someone to help and take on any task that arises.
Q: What or who inspired you to get into public service?
A: I started working with the Village of Colonie in 2003 in the Parks and Recreation Department. After I graduated high school in 2004, I continued to work for the village at the Recreation Center and didn’t really know what I wanted to do now that high school was over. In 2006, there was an opening at the Village Hall for a deputy treasurer position and the superintendent of public works at the time, Carl Fleshman, mentioned it to me and I met with the Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Haas to pursue transferring. I made the move and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Growing up, I never even considered working in government, but now that I am here, I think it was the perfect fit for me. Kathy Haas is our treasurer and I look to her constantly for advice. She really showed me the ropes of public service over the years and has inspired me to be the clerk I am today.
If you know anyone you would like to see featured in Five Questions contact Jim Franco at [email protected] or call 518-878-1000