Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is adding a third deputy chief of staff to her office, to focus on large-scale developments.
Stothert said she intends to hire a person with planning expertise who would be the point person for developers.
“That’s something that I hear from developers time to time, so I think there’s a need,” she said.
Stothert said she is working with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce to bring together a committee of developers and others to craft a job description. She said she expects that work to be done this spring.
Stothert currently has two deputy chiefs of staff: Carrie Murphy, who handles communications, and Cassie Paben, who is in charge of economic development. Each has a salary of $86,600 this year, and Stothert said their new counterpart will make the same amount.
Stothert said the new job would “complement” Paben’s role.
“I want a planner to be in my office, too,” Stothert said. “I want this person to be an advocate for developers.”
Stothert said Paben is stretched thin. Her job includes working on annexations and the annual Capital Improvement Plan, and testifying to the Legislature.
During Stothert’s term the city has hired a former planning director, Steve Jensen, as a consultant with an annual fee of up to $75,000. Stothert said the city would continue to do so.
Funding for the new position was approved by the City Council in the 2017 budget.
Her chief of staff is Marty Bilek, a longtime chief deputy in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
In April 2015 she created a third deputy chief of staff position, for diversity and inclusion, and hired Spencer K. Danner Jr. Two months later she moved him to be the director of the Human Rights and Relations Department, which had long been part of the Human Resources Department.