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September 03. 2013 10:31PM

New economic chief nominated for Manchester, gets Mayor Gatsas’ nod

MANCHESTER — William Craig, policy director for Gov. Maggie Hassan, was nominated at Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting to become the city’s next economic development director.

“I have the utmost confidence that Mr. Craig is going to perform the duties required of the position and, believe me, I know he’s going to work hard, being a lifelong member of the city of Manchester,” Mayor Ted Gatsas said. “I think he’s going to be an asset to us for an awfully long time.”

Craig’s father, former House Minority Leader Jim Craig of Manchester, was recently named state labor commissioner by Hassan.

Craig’s nomination will be taken up at the Oct. 1 full board meeting; eight aldermen will have to vote to approve it. Should he be confirmed, he would start in mid-October at an annual salary of $67,890.40, according to the Mayor’s Office.William Craig started as a legislative aide to Hassan while she was the state Senate President Pro Tem in January 2007, according to his resume. He also worked on her campaign for governor and on her transition team before being appointed policy director. He holds a law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

“Will Craig has been a trusted advisor and friend to me since my early days in the state Senate and has been a tremendous asset to the Office of the Governor in our efforts to create jobs and build a more innovative economic future,” Hassan said Tuesday night in a statement. “I am sorry to see him go, but he is incredibly well-suited to lead economic development efforts in Manchester, and the city is gaining a dedicated and highly qualified public servant. I wish him the very best in this exciting new role.”

Craig’s nomination comes after a series of events that saw the city’s Economic Development Office brought under the auspices of the Mayor’s Office in May, only to have aldermen reverse that decision last month, saying they wanted to avoid politicizing the office.

Gatsas had maintained that his office was well-suited to oversee the goals of job creation and bringing business to Manchester; he questioned the usefulness and expense of having an economic development chief.

Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long had originally backed the mayor’s position, but then came to advocate keeping the office intact, apparently in response to concerns raised by representatives of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and other members of the business community.

Ward 11 school seat

In other business, the board agreed to appoint Patricia Cornell to serve the remainder of the Ward 11 Board of School Committee seat vacated when Jason Cooper resigned. Cornell begins her term today.

tbuckland@unionleader.com


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