Massachusetts transportation exec to head economic development in Norwalk

2018-12-12 | Hour

Dec. 13 -- NORWALK -- Jessica Casey , an executive with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and an adviser at the Harvard Kennedy School , will start work as Norwalk's chief of economic and community development in January.

The Norwalk Common Council on Tuesday evening approved Casey's appointment to the post.

"I think that from a transportation/operations background over the last two years, it's going to be a real skillset in being able to get things done in a collaborative way, in a way that really includes all voices at the table," Casey told the council.

As chief of economic and community development, Casey will be responsible for planning, organizing and implementing economic and community development, from conception to completion, including planning, zoning, code enforcement, business development and tourism, according to the job description posted by the city.

Her salary will be $155,000 , according to Norwalk Director of Personnel and Labor Relations Ray Burney .

Since April, Casey has worked as chief officer of operations policy and oversight at Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority , which focuses on bus and rail service, transportation planning and service expansion. She previously worked as economic development director for the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation and remains an adviser at the Harvard Kennedy School's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston , according to her resume.

"She worked on program that works with 35 of the largest U.S. cities to identify and advance best practices in economic development, transportation planning, financing and other local government services and other local government services," said Council President Thomas P. Livingston .

The council approved Casey's appointment on a 12-3 vote with District B Democrats Ernie Dumas and Travis Simms as well as Minority Leader Douglas E. Hempstead voting 'No.' Hempstead noted the her appointment was not reviewed by the Personnel Committee.

"This should have gone to committee," said Hempstead, a District D Republican. "This is a key position in the city. It should have had the light of day and discussion."

The chief of economic and community development was one of five new senior-level city positions approved by the council on Sept. 11 as part of Mayor Harry W. Rilling's reorganization of city government. The other positions are chief of operations and public works, director of recreation and parks, superintendent of recreation, and transportation planner.

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