Gibb, Bloom officially hired to lead Lake Orion DDA

By Jim Newell
Managing Editor
LAKE ORION — Matt Gibb and Janet Bloom were officially hired on Monday to lead the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority as executive director and assistant executive director, respectively.
The Lake Orion Village Council voted 5-2 to hire Gibb and Bloom. Council members Michael Lamb and Nancy Moshier cast the “no” votes.
Gibb’s employment became effective on March 12. Gibb is a longtime Orion resident, a former Orion Township supervisor, a former deputy Oakland County executive during L. Brooks Patterson’s administration and is a practicing attorney.
Bloom has been serving as interim DDA executive director since former Executive Director Molly LaLone’s departure on Dec. 15. She will oversee marketing and DDA events and other DDA activities.
The Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors voted 6-0 on Feb. 20 to hire Gibb and Bloom and to send the hirings to the council for review and approval.
The DDA board also approved a compensation package of $80,000 for Gibb and $71,000 for Bloom. To pay Bloom’s salary, the board eliminated the events coordinator position, $36,000, and terminated its contract with the DDA’s outside marketing firm, a cost of $35,000. Bloom and Gibb will also forgo village benefits and instead receive a $6,000 stipend payment, according to the employment agreement.
Before the vote, Lamb said he would vote against hiring Gibb and Bloom “because I’m deeply concerned that they’re doubling the management budget for the DDA staff, going from about $60,000 a year to triple that, and they’ve taken on a half million dollars in bond debt.”
Lamb has long been a vocal critic of the DDA and has urged the council to shrink the DDA district, remove new development from the DDA tax captures so that that money can be used for village services and infrastructure projects.
“I have yet to see any budget proposal. Last year they spent a million dollars providing wonderful services to the village, supposedly, but somehow they’ve managed to spend half a million on bond debt and now they have $2.7 million in the bank and now they’re hiring a lot of staff,” Lamb said.
Other council members disagreed with Lamb, saying that with the DDA currently redeveloping the Lake Orion Lumber Yard site into parking, they need someone like Gibb with experience in project management.
“This is actually, probably, one of the most efficient budget decisions the DDA could have made, “ said council President Jerry Narsh, who also sits on the DDA Board of Directors. “Not only are we retaining two highly-qualified individuals, but as everyone knows we have recently purchased the lumber yard project and with one swipe of the pen it’s going to solve a 25-year infrastructure need for parking. But what we needed is a project manager.”
Narsh estimated that having an outside project manager manage the Lumber Yard Redevelopment Project would cost at least $20,000 a year. Having Gibb on staff to manage the project and perform other duties is an overall savings to the DDA, Narsh said.
The multi-year lumber yard project plans also include installing a pavilion and offering businesses the opportunity to build on the site with fees going back to the DDA to help pay the $5 million bond the DDA took out to redevelop the site.
“The project is more than the lumber yard, it’s the status of the DDA going forward,” Gibb said to council members. “I’m grateful, if approved, to get started tomorrow.”
DDA Board of Directors Chair Debbie Burgess spoke during the council meeting, saying that having Bloom on board since LaLone’s departure “was like cream, she came to the top.” Burgess added that having Bloom and Gibb at the helm of the DDA would be a benefit to more than just the DDA.
“I think this is such a benefit to this community,” Burgess said.

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