RDA in hunt for chief operating officer

2012-04-13T12:00:00Z 2012-04-13T12:26:12Z RDA in hunt for chief operating officerBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is hunting for a chief operating officer, one of two positions it wants to add this year as several major construction projects reach peak activity.

The chief operating officer will essentially be a combination project manager and government liaison, according to a help wanted advertisement recently posted on the RDA website.

"These past few years have been real exciting and we are getting ready to go into a heavier lifting stage in which we will be focused on new investments," said RDA Executive Director Bill Hanna. "It will require more time and more focus from us."

The largest projects currently under way are the Gary/Chicago International Airport Expansion, Gary East Marquette Park renovation and the Hammond Lakes park improvements. Altogether, the RDA forecasts it will be spending $103.1 million on projects in Lake and Porter counties this year.

The chief operating officer will be paid between $70,000 and $80,000, Hanna said. The RDA expects to hire someone for the job in the next four to six weeks.

The chief operating officer will work closely with local municipalities on finance, budget and development issues, Hanna said.

A  public awareness officer position will also be added this year, paying between $45,000 and $50,000, Hanna said. The RDA is recruiting prospects for that job but is not advertising it at this time, Hanna said.

The RDA has budgeted $538,403 for salaries and benefits this year. That is up from $374,233 actually spent in 2011.

The RDA has a total 2012 administrative budget of $1.5 million. In addition to employees' pay and benefits, that budget also covers items like legal fees and consultants.

The RDA is funded by combining casino development funds contributed by Lake County communities and an economic development income tax in Porter County.

If both two new positions are filled at the RDA, it will have five full-time employees and one part-time.

For part of last year the RDA employed a grant writer but that position is now being rolled into the chief operating officer's job, Hanna said.

The public awareness officer will focus on creating more pathways for the public to have input on projects, Hanna said.

The RDA currently has approximately $500 million in projects under way or completed, with approximately $212 million of that RDA money.


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