Nathan Kelly Leaves Lakewood for County Economic Development Post
Director of planning and development's last day is Friday; position in Lakewood to remain open until after November's election.
Nathan Kelly is leaving his post as the director of planning and development — to take a similar position at the county level.
It's an opportunity, he said he "can’t pass up.”
Kelly, who has held the Lakewood post for the past three years, is the new deputy chief of staff for economic development for former-Lakewood mayor and new Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
In his tenure in Lakewood, Kelly generated millions of dollars in new development and creating a program to reduce the number of foreclosures, FitzGerald and others have said.
Kelly said some of his proudest moments were filling storefronts and working in the neighborhoods with community organizations.
His most memorable achievement?
“I like the relationships we forged with organizations outside of the city — the openness and engagement of our department,” Kelly said. “Project-wise, I am proud of a lot of the folks who made investments in the city. But those are their accomplishments."
He noted that "Lakewood is in a great position to succeed."
Kelly, who will begin his new post on Tuesday, will earn $98,000 working for the county.
In a statement issued Monday, FitzGerald said "we continue to build a top quality leadership team that will help implement a comprehensive economic development strategy and significantly improve county operations. I’m pleased that these talented individuals have agreed to be a part of this new county government."
Kelly said he enjoyed his time working in the city. And while he noted admiration for the “great team” that is the city’s planning and development department, he said there are no plans to take city employees with him to the county.
“It would be an honor to work with (new mayor) Mike Summers," he said. "But I am looking forward to my role at the county. Who knows, maybe someday, I will have the honor to work again this city.”
Summers — who was appointed to replace FitzGerald — said he will take over the duties of economic development director. Summers said he will consider how economic development will fit in to his plan for 2011 to renew focus on preserving the city’s aging housing stock.
Summers also said that as his appointment ends at the end of the year, he’d like to wait until after the November election to decide whether to fill Kelly's post. Kelly, he added, will be missed.
“He came in and has done an excellent job,” Summers said. “Lakewood is still in the county, so he’s still a member of the team — we just don’t have 100 percent of his focus.”
Kelly was one of four appointments FitzGerald announced Monday.
Ed Jerse was named regional collaboration director; Bob Ivory was selected as FitzGerald’s assistant to oversee a range of responsibilities including liaison to the Cuyahoga County Council; and Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts Gerald Fuerst was retained.