City officials are looking to a newly hired development director to bridge the gap between Gloucester and the local development group that oversaw the creation of Gloucester’s industrial parks, while also drawing new businesses into the city.
The city hired Manchester resident Thomas Daniel to fill the position for a Director of the Community Development Department, freeing Harbor Planner Sarah Garcia from an overflow of director tasks, Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Tuesday, and taking a step toward focusing on job growth as the city slipped to a January unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, its highest in nearly two years and 36 percent higher than the state’s jobless rate of 7.4.
These figures arrive at a time when city officials say calls from people interested in planting businesses here are flooding in.
“Before we would have inquiries maybe once every couple months, and now Tom Daniel has a pipeline of six or seven businesses,” Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Tuesday. “We’re looking to be efficient and we wanted to build our capacity in economic development without just adding staff, so we looked for a combination of experience that could build the economic capacity and do the broader job of community development director.”
Daniel came to Gloucester in February after serving as Salem’s economic development manager. Daniel is certified as a certified housing development and economic development finance professional by the National Development Council. Daniel attended the University of Minnesota and holds a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning.
Kirk said creating this position, which was included in the current fiscal year’s budget and carries an annual salary of $89,600, allows Garcia to fully focus on harbor development and reorganizes the system in a way that streamlines everything economic development related to Daniel, who can then direct inquiries to the correct city officials.