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Published: Wednesday, 7/30/2014

Lucas County merges 2 departments

Economic development agencies combined to save costs

Lucas County will have one new department trying to do a better job of two existing ones starting Aug. 4, the result of which — if all goes as planned — will be more streamlined efforts to promote economic development and job opportunities.

By a 3-0 vote, county commissioners agreed Tuesday to merge the Lucas County Economic Development Corp. with the Lucas County Workforce Development Agency into a county planning and development agency that will combine the functions of the two.

None of the 20 affected county employees will lose their jobs, but some savings are expected to be achieved by eliminating much of the overlap, Commissioner Pete Gerken said.

The biggest benefit, he said, isn’t likely to show up on paper or in an accountant’s ledger, though. It’ll be simple communication. By combining those two functions, the county can better tailor its economic development efforts, based on the demographics of the available work force it’s representing, Mr. Gerken said.

Plans for the merger began nine months ago. The county went in that direction after learning how governmental agencies are adapting to a more sophisticated business world, which is placing as much emphasis now on a readily available, trained and flexible work force as traditional incentives like tax breaks, Mr. Gerken said.

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