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Leftwich to step down as development director; will serve as Kasich adviser | Ohio politics
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Home > Blogs > Ohio politics > Archives > 2011 > July > 12 > Entry

Leftwich to step down as development director; will serve as Kasich adviser

James Leftwich, former director of the Dayton Development Coalition, will step down Aug. 1 as director of the Ohio Department of Development and become an informal economic development adviser to Gov. John Kasich, Leftwich and a top aide to the governor announced Tuesday.

Chris Schmenk, currently general counsel in the state development department, will take over as director of the department as the state’s job creation efforts are transitioned to JobsOhio, the private, not-for-profit corporation whose board of directors held its first meeting Tuesday.

Leftwich, 46, whose state salary is $127,400 a year, said he plans to return to the private sector but declined to provide specific plans while still working for the state. He said that he anticipated that his tenure as director would be short when he took over in March.

Kasich tapped him for the director’s job after Democrats raised questions about the constitutionality of having Mark Kvamme, Kasich’s top jobs’ adviser, in the director’s job because Kvamme was not an Ohio resident.

“I came into this with my eyes open,” said Leftwich, who commuted to Columbus from the Dayton area and plans to continue living in the Dayton area.

Scott Milburn, Kasich’s spokesman, said Leftwich not only ran the department but helped “crystallize the vision for JobsOhio,” which is a statewide version of the Dayton Development Coalition.

Kasich is “personally, immensely grateful” to Leftwich for his service, said Milburn.

Milburn said the Kasich administration did not expect to get Leftwich as director for as long as he is to serve.

“We kind of milked everything we could,” said Milburn.

Going forward, Leftwich will be particularly important in advising Kasich on aerospace economic development opportunities, said Milburn.

“I’m very much vested in the success here of JobsOhio,” said Leftwich. He said he has offered to continue in an adviser’s role with JobsOhio, particularly in the aerospace area.

Kasich on Monday announced the appointment of eight members to the JobsOhio board of directors, with a ninth appointment to be made later. No appointees were from the Dayton area.

Leftwich said, however, that the Dayton area would be well served by JobsOhio.

“I think the whole state is going to be well served by JobsOhio,” Leftwich said.

Milburn said that Schmenk is the natural person to take over as director as the transition is made to JobsOhio, with the development department no longer playing the out front role in job development efforts.



By joe rice

July 13, 2011 5:51 PM | Link to this

if dayton is like most cities, there have been layoff of cops or firefighters or union givebacks. they have already made government more efficient. am curious what the chamber types and their board earn. am certain is is lot more than cops & firefighters.

By j.p.l

July 12, 2011 1:49 PM | Link to this

I question the reasoning about getting people jobs in aerospace. First of all the Shuttle is now on it’s last flight. If the jobs that they are going to create at JobsOh! are government jobs or for parts or programs for sale to the Federal Government; then the people still foot the bill in Federal Income taxes instead of State or Local Taxes. If however they are talking private aerospace…that would be great because so few young people are involved in aeronautical engineering or the physics of space flight. However, it would behoove the National Museum of the United States Air Force to fix the long-broken simulators they have for the kids. They could put some of those standup Microsoft flight sims on sliding platforms so younger children could reach them. They could have a Microsoft representative provide expertise to make the simulation a much more enjoyable learning experience for the children. I watched some kids and parents…it was mostly frustration…but the shuttle sims are excellent. Anyway we evaluate the President on his jobs creation programs. How has the Governor of Ohio done as far as job creation in his first months in office? My opinion is he’s not a player, not a coach…so that leaves the position of cheerleader…I don’t think that will cut it when you are talking about $58,000,000,000 of the peoples hard earned money. He didn’t save Lehaman Brothers but he did make 1/2 a million dollars while they sunk. He put a guy from out of state on his volunteer staff at JobsOH!, suggesting there is no one in Ohio that can do the job. He also put a guy from Bob Evans on his volunteer board…a company he just handed a corporate welfare check too…in the amount of $10 million or more. I will volunteer for a lot less…as would many. This does not indicate leadership; just a man with an elite- paid for- fan base …Perhaps it is because he wiggles so well that people cheer for him. I guess they can close the Ohio Jobs Centers now that the chosen John has his hand on the tiller. Does this seem a little vitriolic..well is intended to be.


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