Economic Development Officer Position Proposed by Vice Mayor Robert Garcia

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Vice Mayor Robert Garcia

Vice Mayor Robert Garcia

Vice Mayor Robert Garcia has proposed legislation (view here) for Tuesday’s City Council agenda that would create a city Economic Development Officer to lead economic development efforts and serve as an ambassador to business. The new officer would revive many of the functions of the defunct Office of Economic Development. Garcia’s proposal, cosponsored by Councilmembers DeLong, Johnson and O’Donnell, directs the City Manager to report back to Council within 90 days on the “feasibility and costs” or creating a new “Business and Economic Development Officer” position.

“It’s extremely important that the City take a proactive role in bringing new businesses to Long Beach and maintaining the businesses we already have,” said Garcia. “With the right person in this position, we have an opportunity to create new jobs and expand our tax base.”

Long Beach had an Economic Development Officer until July 2010, when the department was dismantled. Since then, there has been no dedicated, full-time Economic Development program.

In addition to restoring the position, Garcia wants to see the activities of the Economic Development Officer expand beyond its previous role, taking a more active recruitment role and serving as full-time liaison and ambassador to all the City’s businesses. Garcia believes that the cost of funding the Economic Development Office could be offset by making minor reforms to other city positions.

“If a business wants to open in Long Beach, and they are facing obstacles within our own city government, then I expect this new officer to step in and help cut the red tape.”

Long Beach adopted an Economic Development Implementation Plan in 2007, just before the recession and housing crash. The Plan’s three main initiatives are:

  • To make Long Beach the most business-friendly city in California
  • To create additional jobs for Long Beach residents
  • To support and strengthen neighborhoods

The new Economic Development Officer would be charged with implementing the goals and strategies of the Plan.

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