CINCINNATI - After a little more than a year on the job, Cincinnati's economic development director is resigning next month.
Odis Jones will leave the job he's held since April 2012 on July 12 to take a position with the Detroit Public Lighting Authority, according to an announcement from City Hall.
Jones was the primary author of the controversial parking lease deal that City Council approved in a 5-4 vote in March. Council approved the lease just 15 days after it was proposed to the group and unveiled publicly. Since that time, the lease has been subject to a legal battle over whether its implementation can be delayed so voters can weigh in via a referendum.
"I hate to lose him. He's a great development professional," said Mayor Mark Mallory.
"I'm sure he'll do a great job in Detroit. He did great for us in Cincinnati," Mallory added. "We made a lot of progress because of his hard work."
Jones, a former football player for Central Michigan University, has been looking to return to his native Michigan. He was recently one of seven finalists for the job of city manager in Kalamazoo, a position he didn't get.
Jones previously was director of Urban Development for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. He worked under two state administrations to drive investment and development in urban areas throughout the state.
Also, Jones served as president and CEO of the Columbus Urban Growth Corp., a citywide public-private entity that handled economic development for the Ohio city.
"I want to thank Odis for his tireless commitment to growing our city and our tax base," said City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr., in a prepared statement.
"His vision, energy and perseverance have helped further the city's goal of growing the local economy through jobs and investment," Dohoney added. "When presented with a great opportunity, it is understandable that it's hard to say 'no.' I also support my staff in doing what is best for their families."
Because of his involvement with several ongoing projects, like redeveloping the site at Fourth and Race streets downtown, Jones will be retained as a consultant for the next few months, the city manager said.
Jeff McElravy, who is downtown development manager, will serve as interim director of the Trade and Development Department while Dohoney conducts a national search for a new department director.