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Acting City Manager of Worcester Meets QCC Students

October 2022
  • Worcester's Acting City Manager Eric Batista addresses students.
    Worcester's Acting City Manager Eric Batista addresses students.

On Tuesday, September 20, Worcester’s Acting City Manager, Eric Batista, came to QCC's main campus to meet with students and discuss his life and experience working in Worcester's local government.  

Bastista has a passion for the Worcester community that is palpable. He spoke to students about the richness of the different cultures he found when he came to Worcester with his family from Puerto Rico at seven years old. 

“A classroom at North High School where I went, looked just like it does here at QCC, folks from all walks of life. You get to learn and understand different perspectives. That’s important in terms of who I am and what I carry forward,” he said. 

After high school Bastista went on to college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and later earned his master's degree at Assumption College. He recalled being a first-generation, low-income student when he attended college. He said this experience influenced him to work in nonprofit organizations that focused on youth issues, such as college access and violence prevention.  

In 2012, he landed a role as a project manager for the Worcester City Manager’s Office and quickly realized that city government was where he wanted to be. His background in youth services came into play when he secured $3 million for the Worcester Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.  

In 2019, he was promoted to Director of the Office of Urban Innovation and in 2021 promoted again to Assistant City Manager. When Edward Augustus Jr resigned in May 2022, Batista was appointed as acting city manager. If appointed permanently, he will be the first person of color to fill this role. 

Batista told students how a city manager is like being a CEO. He oversees operations for the city, the budgets, and the personnel. He acknowledged that government processes can be complicated, but also encouraged QCC students to get involved in any way they can, such as attending city council meetings, joining a committee, or even working for the city. 

Hispanic Heritage Month started shortly before Batista’s visit, and he touched upon how important it is to honor our cultures. He noted that Puerto Rico has been through struggles to retain its culture and there was a time when it was illegal to display the flag, so it was a special moment when the Puerto Rican flag was raised at his swearing-in for Acting City Manager.  

“And the food, the food is everything in our culture! Those are the things that make us who we are. It makes us rich in so many areas and I hold that very close to my heart. I like to celebrate it and share it with the world and I try to lead with that mentality and mindset. Differences in cultures make us better every single day,” he added.

Student Life organized the event, which had an overwhelmingly positive student response.  

"It is so important for our students to have the opportunity to speak with any government official, but to hear the story of the first Latino Acting City Manager of Worcester is more than an opportunity. It is hope, hope that they, too, can hold a position of power, a position that can impact real change for their community. On top of all that, it just feels awesome to see a person of color in a position of governmental power and change," said and Director of  Student Life and Leadership Ashlee Givins