September 14, 2018

New Haven official to become Hartford's economic-development czar

PHOTO | City of New Haven
PHOTO | City of New Haven
New Haven housing administrator Erik Johnson will oversee Hartford's economic-development efforts.

The city of Hartford has hired New Haven housing administrator Erik Johnson to oversee its economic-development efforts — the third person to hold the post in the last three years.

Johnson will take over Oct. 2 as the city's new director of development services, if City Council approves his appointment, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced Thursday. His annual pay is $148,000.

He succeeds Kiley Gosselin, acting director since the Jan. 2018 departure of Sean M. Fitzpatrick, now a professor at Trinity College, where Johnson graduated (Class of '94). Gosselin will resume her duties as the department's deputy director.

"Erik Johnson is a seasoned, highly-regarded economic development professional with extensive experience, and I am excited to bring him on board," Bronin said in a statement. "Erik has worked in New Haven for almost a decade and in cities around the country for most of his career, as well as in the private sector. He has helped create the kind of public-private partnerships that are key to Hartford's continued economic development, and we're looking forward to working with him to pursue projects across our city."

Johnson said in the statement he is "thrilled to help lead economic and community development in Capital City at an exciting time.''

"I've worked to bring residential and commercial development projects to life across the country," he said, "and I think Hartford is in a strong position to build on the growth we've already seen."

A 20-year economic and community development veteran with career stops in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., Johnson is the Elm City housing authority's senior director of strategy, policy, and innovation. Between 2010 and 2015, he was executive director of New Haven's Livable City Initiative.

He also is a former development vice president at the National Community Renaissance Corp. in southern California.

Johnson has a bachelor's degree in political science and sociology from Trinity and a master's degree in city and regional planning from Baltimore's Morgan State University.

Johnson's hiring stems from the resignation of Fitzpatrick amid questions about whether he satisfied (he did) the city's residency requirement for certain managers. Johnson also must reside in the city.

Fitzpatrick was appointed to the post following the departure of Thomas Deller, who held the slot from 2012 to 2015.

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