Ninety days go fast, especially in the tedious world of economic development. Following the April departure of municipal development chief David Kooris, Ed Lavernoich, the executive director of the quasi-public Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, agreed to fill in for three months, pending a national search for a permanent replacement. Lavernoich is now preparing to return to BEDCO. The city has apparently not found a fit for the permanent position so must now find another temporary fill-in. Who could that be?
One possibility is Bill Coleman, veteran city development official, who has strong institutional knowledge of city projects and is respected among the business community and neighborhood groups.
Now eight months into his second tenure as mayor, Joe Ganim has not established consistency in his development chief, a key position to attract state and federal dollars and serve as a daily catalyst to stimulate private investment to grow the tax base to keep down local property taxes.
In the past eight years Nancy Hadley, Don Eversley, Kooris and Lavernoich have served as chief development officials. It’s challenging to grow the grand list with a revolving door of development chiefs. Knowledge, contacts, building relationships, stability are all keys to wooing bricks and mortar.
Sometimes, the person with institutional knowledge and local relationships is a fit in lieu of a phantom rainmaker. We’ll see.