Dabertin to become RDA board member, step down as McDermott's chief of staff

2013-04-08T18:05:00Z 2013-04-08T23:06:31Z Dabertin to become RDA board member, step down as McDermott's chief of staffChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Tom Dabertin is leaving his position as Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr.'s chief of staff at the end of the month to become a board member of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Dabertin has served as McDermott's chief of staff on a contractual basis since June 2011.

“He's been an excellent chief of staff and we're happy for him. ... Tom's passion is Whiting and Robertsdale and especially the lakefront,” McDermott said. “It seemed like the perfect fit for him.”

McDermott said Monday to expect more changes to his administration in the coming months as he analyzes every role in the city.

“There have been some issues come up as of late where I think people feel like they are entitled to do things because they've been in a position for a long time,” McDermott said. “I don't like that type of attitude on my team.”

On the RDA, Dabertin will take the place of Peter Novak Jr., who will resign from being Hammond's appointment at the end of this month after serving in the role since 2009.

McDermott as mayor controls the city's appointment to the RDA. McDermott said Novak is stepping down from the volunteer board due to his work load.

McDermott said he intends to promote from within in choosing his new chief and staff, and the position likely will be on a full-time basis as it historically has been structured.

Dabertin currently has a $92,000 contract through the Hammond Water Works Department to fulfill the role. McDermott said Dabertin will continue to serve as a consultant for the city on matters not related to the RDA through a smaller contract.

Dabertin became chief of staff during a critical time for McDermott as he ran for his third term in office. Dabertin owns Shared Resource Solutions that advises private clients and local governments in human resources and operational issues. He also serves on the boards of 14 nonprofit organizations, including the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce and the Hammond Development Corp.

Dabertin thanked McDermott for the unique opportunity of serving as chief of staff and said he looks forward to becoming a member of the RDA board.

“The RDA has had a fantastic impact on Northwest Indiana,” Dabertin said. “It certainly has had a positive impact on Hammond and Whiting and other communities like Portage, and I look forward to being a part of that.”

Along with announcing Dabertin's departure, McDermott named Africa Tarver as the city's new economic development director. Tarver has served as coordinator of the city's College Bound program since last year and has been employed by the city for the past 11 years.

The current economic development director, Beth Jacobson, is leaving the city in May for time off to be a full-time mother to her two daughters, according to McDermott's announcement.

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