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Salt Lake City Council Weighs Naming the Mayor Director of RDA

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Members of the Salt Lake City Council want more information before deciding to name Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski the new executive director of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake.

The change would actually align the city’s RDA with a state law that specifically names the mayor the executive director of the agency. The RDA plans and finances development projects in blighted areas of the city. Biskupski says the agency will eventually be folded into the newly created Department of Economic Development, which the mayor’s office manages.

“The mayor of Salt Lake City needs to be very focused on our economy,” Biskupski says. “Not just for the sake of the city but for the sake of the state. We are the capital city. And a hands-off approach costs us opportunities as a city and as a state.”

In a transitional shakeup, Biskupski accepted the resignation of long-time RDA Director DJ Baxter. She says there is no need to hire additional staff.

City Councilman Stan Penfold says the administrative changes would fortunately streamline the RDA process, but he wants to know staff are prepared. 

“I’m concerned with the idea that we will not be replacing any expertise or that we don’t need any additional expertise at the RDA,” Penfold says. “That’s not my sense.”

The council acting as the RDA board requested more information from city staff on the impact of the mayor’s request. They’ll likely make a decision next month. 

Biskupski’s administration is also in the process of hiring a new economic development director. 

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