NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Mayor Nicole Dailey Jones is currently in the process of appointing trustees to her administration. The first position filled is that of the newly created director of economic and community development.
City council last week approved the nomination of Max Upton, who will earn $87,000 a year. Upton is expected to start work on Tuesday (January 18).
“One thing I heard during the campaign was that people wanted to make sure the focus was on economic development in the city,” Jones said.
“Empty storefronts are part of it, but what is it to position yourself 20 years from now? That kind of thought process has never really been done here. We need a new approach to how we are going to manage the way our city is shaped. That’s what I think Max will help bring to our city,” she said.
Currently a board member of the Ohio Conference on Community Development, Upton holds an undergraduate degree in urban studies, with a focus on public policy analysis, and a master’s degree in public administration. . He also holds a graduate certificate in urban economic development.
“I look forward to the work ahead in North Olmsted, because while on its surface the economy is stable, there are significant challenges that economies rooted in traditional shopping centers must face,” said Upton, a native of Lorain, who served six years in the Ohio Army National Guard, which included a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“I think the proactive approach to economic development that Mayor Jones has committed to is what is needed to meet these challenges head-on.”
Upton comes to North Olmsted from his previous position as director of construction, housing and planning for Lorain, where his duties included economic development.
“After hearing the Mayor’s vision for the Economic and Community Development Department, I was very excited about this opportunity, I’m up for the challenge and can’t wait to get started,” Upton said.
The Economic and Community Development Department includes Upton, the Engineering Division and the Town Planner.
The mayor’s focus on economic development comes a year after the city council, as part of the city’s 2021 budget, eliminated the part-time director of economic development position, which had been held for about a decade by Greg Myers.
“Very simply, I wanted someone with economic development experience who is going to be a full-time person here in the city,” Jones said. “So we don’t hire a consultant who also works for other entities. We have a full-time person here who is focused on that.
Looking ahead, Jones said Upton would begin his tenure with the city by assessing the state of economic development in North Olmsted.
This includes reviewing his department’s budget, as well as immediately beginning to connect with business owners to promote an open door policy.
As for the remaining vacancies in administration – including director of human resources, director of security, director of services and the new director of recreation and community engagement – Jones plans to announce soon appointments requiring Board approval.
“My transition team and I continue to interview candidates,” Jones said. “I’d like to see those four positions eventually approved (this) week so we can really get started.”
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