The planning and economic development department isn’t necessarily merging with the building and housing department, but in a cost-saving move, they will now have one leader.
Dru Siley was appointed by to become director of both departments.
On Monday, approved the change.
Summers, who was returning from Washington D.C. and didn’t attend the council meeting, said in a telephone interview that move was made to offset from the state.
Last week, Jeffrey Ashby, the assistant director of public safety with the city’s department of housing, was laid off.
Summers said the restructuring will save the city about $22,000 — even with Siley’s salary increasing from $65,000 to $80,000.
He acknowledged that the nature of the work in the two departments is “sufficiently different,” but noted that the administration can use the staff interchangeably.
Summers said that letting Ashby go was a “regretful” decision.
“Jeff served Lakewood well, in a particularly challenging time, and he helped us hold the ground,” he said.
Additional cuts, in the form of attrition, are expected.
Siley has remained the assistant director of planning and development — although he had been heading the department — since his predecessor to work for the new Cuyahoga County government.
“We’re just looking at being strategic with our staffing, understanding that local government funds are taking a $1.7 million hit from the state,” Siley said.
“We want to make sure that we position the administration to not only give great service to all the residents, but to become more efficient as an organization.”
Siley’s new position doesn’t yet have a title, but Summers said it has a goal: to work on reducing the number of vacant houses in the city.
“He and I are working closely,” Summers said. “Our success in economic development depends on how well we handle housing,” Summers said. “It’s a lot of work. The organization has a lot of work ahead of it.”