OTTAWA — Ottawa council restructured city employee duties following the Jan. 15 resignation of its community development director Jeff Loehrke. The village won't fill the position.
Mayor Dean Meyer said Ottawa also is taking a more active role working with the Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation and appointing Municipal Director Jack Williams as economic development liaison. Williams is being assisted by newly hired intern Alina Raulinaitis.
Raulinaitis, a public administration graduate student at Bowling Green State University, has been networking with Ottawa area businesses to assess their needs for maintaining and expanding employment.
“This is going very well,” Meyer said. He said while Williams will continue the work of economic development for Ottawa, the village is using the assistance of the Putnam County CIC for connections needed at the state and federal level.
“Jeff had many connections and sources he was able to utilize for economic development,” Meyers said. “We felt it best to work with the CIC to continue working with these connections.”
In the village’s April newsletter, Councilwoman Deb Bauer indicated the village is investigating a more active role in the CIC.
In 2004, Ottawa officials decided to discontinue their financial support and use of services with the CIC. At that time, the village chose to use the services of the Putnam County Commissioners' economic development department and Ottawa officials work toward economic development.
Water director Jason Phillips has been promoted to assistant municipal director, taking over many of the duties formerly performed by Williams. Along with his duties as water director, Phillips will oversee Ottawa’s Public Works department.
“It has been very helpful that there has been cross-training not only in public works but in the administrative office,” Meyer said.
Williams and Phillips will be directing Ottawa’s parks and recreation and working with the Park Board and YMCA.
“This is saving the village quite a bit of money,” Meyer said. “We are paying a minimal amount to our intern for her services and saving the salary we paid Jeff.”
“As a village we’re trying to do what is right,” Meyer said. “We relied on Jeff for so long for so many things, we weren’t always aware of what his day to day responsibilities included. Things are going well as we make the changes. Now we are on a learning curve.
Loehrke served as Ottawa's community development director for 12 1/2 years. He took a job with the Ohio Department of Transportation's Jobs and Commerce Division as a regional manager for District 1 and District 2, serving 16 counties.