Executive Director Chris Garland is wrapping up his final days as leader of Tremont West Development Corp. Garland tendered his resignation to the Board of Directors on June 16, 2011. Immediately following his notice of departure, the TWDC Board released a statement announcing that Garland will be accepting a position with the City of Cleveland as the new Commissioner of Neighborhood Development, filling a vacancy left by Joe Sidoti who retired in December 2010.
Garland transferred to Cleveland after leaving his position as Program Director of Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA) bringing with him his Detroit “Jazzin’ on Jefferson” formula for marketing and promoting investment in the Tremont Community.
The Executive Director will end his four-year stint at the organization on July 17, 2011, leaving the TWDC Board and Executive Committee in a milieu of finding a replacement. TWDC Board President Chris Alvarado estimates that it could take up to six months to fill the position and that an Interim Director will most likely be named.
As he prepares to close this chapter and bid adieu to the TWDC organization, Garland states, “These past four years have been the most exciting, challenging and rewarding of my professional career. I’m proud of the physical improvements that TWDC has helped to steward in Tremont in these past few years including attracting dozens of new businesses, making minor home improvements with our Model Blocks program and supporting over 500 new homes in the neighborhood. I’m proud of the fact, that TWDC continues to advocate passionately for affordable housing while at the same time fostering a environment for market-rate housing, because we believe that a healthy mix is what makes a strong and dynamic neighborhood. I’m proud that TWDC has supported efforts which improve the quality of life in Tremont such as advocating for our schools and preserving Tremont Montessori, creating new public parking, and year-after-year producing high-quality events that keep Tremont fun and lively. Tremont has some of the most dedicated residents and supporters of any community that I know of. TWDC has a talented and dedicated board and staff and I was privileged to be part of it. I’m excited to see what’s next.”
As Board President Chris Alvarado and other board members gear up for changes that will take place over the next few months, the TWDC Executive Committee has been charged with the chore of putting together an Ad hoc Interview Committee and a Transitional Committee for identifying short and long term needs as well as a process that will lead to the hiring of a new Executive Director.
When ask if other TWDC staff and board members would be considered for the job, President Alvarado stated, “Contingent on the decision of this interview committee that has not yet been formed (much less met), I assume that all persons will probably be considered for the position, including staff members and current board members. However, the committee (that has not been formed or met) would need to put together the job description. That said, I think it would be unwise for anybody (including myself) to commit to apply for a position that has not been posted (much less even discussed).”
Although Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins stated he was not surprised that Garland is leaving the organization and/or accepting a new appointment with the City of Cleveland, however, he believes that funding and services provided by TWDC will continue uninterrupted.
There seems to be a mixture of feelings throughout the community about Garland’s decision to leave the organization. While some feel he is jumping ship, others bid the Executive Director a fond farewell.