Youngstown mayor to head auto recovery unit
Jay Williams, the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, was named director of the government organization charged with assisting communities affected by the declines in the auto industry.
Williams, 39, will oversee the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, which was created as part of the government's bailout of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. Williams, who has been mayor of Youngstown since 2006, will resign from that office Aug. 1.
“I’ve (been) proud of the progress we’ve made, but I know too we still have more to do,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said today on a conference call with reporters. She said the office will seek funding from philanthropists as well as the government and request help from colleges to re-train auto workers.
The White House Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers provided assistance to industrial towns as part of the 2009 U.S. auto-company bailouts.
Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, in May called on President Obama to keep funding the office, which hasn’t had a director since Ed Montgomery resigned last year.
Williams is the first African-American mayor of Youngstown. General Motors Co. makes Chevrolet Cruze compact cars at its Lordstown factory about 15 miles northwest of Youngstown. Ford Motor Co. makes Econoline vans and engines in three plants farther northwest from the area, in Avon Lake and Brook Park, both near Cleveland.
Williams said he plans to raise the profile of the office, which the Government Accountability Office this year questioned because of its small budget and lack of data collection. “It’s not just about the budget at this particular agency,” he said.
“It’s about tapping into resources.”
Bloomberg News contributed to this report