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City hires Dickens as development director

Bill Dickens shouldn’t have any trouble getting started at his new job.

Economic development has been his focus for several years, but now he will get paid for his efforts.

Two weeks ago, Ironton City Council approved an $18,000 salary for an economic development director and on Wednesday Mayor Rich Blankenship said Dickens, the Ironton Port Authority Director, will fill the position.

“After four months on the job, I feel the city is in dire need of an economic development director to entice and recruit business,” Blankenship said. “Mr. Dickens has taken that position and will be starting April 21.”

It is a full-time position for Dickens who will give up his current job as a grant writer and Title IV coordinator for the county court system.

Dickens said he hopes to be a benefit for the city and its development projects. He said the time demands of working full time for the court as well as doing all the IPA projects has become difficult.

And he thinks it will go hand-in-hand with his work with the IPA.

“It makes a lot of sense for me to move over to the city. I’m doing it for a very nominal amount,” Dickens said. “That’s because I have other sources of income and I am committed to revitalizing Ironton. I am optimistic that I can do more for the city in that capacity than I can as IPA director.”

Since accepting the position as economic development director, Dickens has stepped down as the IPA director although he will remain a member of the board. Mike Haas will move from the IPA’s vice-chairman to chairman.

“Mike is an excellent guy and Ironton is very fortunate to have him,” Dickens said.

Blankenship said the city is very fortunate to have a person as qualified Dickens with his qualifications to fill the economic development position.

“He has a lot of business experience and he has been the IPA director since it started,” Blankenship said. “He will fit well with our system.”

Blankenship said it would be easier to have Dickens as an employee because he called on him a lot anyway.

“Prospective businesses would call me and I would have to call him,” Blankenship said. “A lot of times business is handed over to the IPA so this will benefit us because he will be right here in our building and we will have daily contact with him on what progress is being made.”

Blankenship said Dickens has an extensive list of contacts on the local and state levels.

“I think this will be very beneficial to the city,” he said. “I think he will working very well with other local officials.”