Responding to requests from local merchants and recommendations from a consultant brought in for six months last year, the Ventura City Council on Monday approved hiring a full-time economic development manager.
The successful candidate will be responsible for marketing Ventura to businesses considering relocation, serving existing firms, eliminating red tape for merchants and promoting tourism.
"We've missed many opportunities because we haven't had an individual exclusively focusing on business," Councilwoman Rosa Lee Measures said before Monday's meeting.
"Our blueprint for community investment is one important piece of economic vitality," Measures said.
"But in order to truly utilize the benefit of the blueprint, we need someone exclusively focusing on business retention and expansion."
City Council members already have adopted an economic vitality plan, developed over months of interviews with consultants and business owners, that calls for jump-starting new downtown business and luring more industry and jobs to Ventura.
Key in those plans, however, is hiring a specialist to oversee the project, officials said. The economic development manager will receive an annual salary and benefits package worth about $93,000.
The action approved Monday calls for City Manager Donna Landeros to recruit and hire the economic development manager. No timetable for the recruitment process has been set.