ECONOMIC DEVELOPER RESIGNS

Rob Harrington, the City of Houston's economic developer, will step down on May 17. The news came during a meeting of the Houston City Council on May 3. 

Houston’s economic development director resigned Monday during a meeting of the Houston City Council.

Rob Harrington, who oversaw economic development, some special projects and grants, accepted a similar job with the City of Fort Scott, Kan. He began duties in October 2018 in Houston. He was the community’s third economic developer and came here from Grain Valley where he served as Grain Valley Economic Development Corp. executive director.

During his time in Houston, studies of the town’s housing and labor markets were completed. Additionally, Harrington worked closely with the City of Houston Industrial Development Authority to start the Piney River Technical Center, where it hopes to launch a welding program and expand health occupations education this fall in partnership with Texas County Memorial Hospital and the Houston School District. Harrington also had touted efforts to bring a fiber-to-the-home internet system to the community. That will launch later this year.

Two weeks ago, the Houston City Council was notified he was considering the Kansas offer, and he said he hoped to meet with the council to discuss its assessment of his job performance and potential for advancement. He said that meeting never happened.

“I have taken this as a sign that you are ready for a new change in the direction that this community wants to head in economic development and grant writing,” Harrington wrote in a letter to the council.

“I genuinely feel that we have accomplished so much in such a short time and was genuinely hoping that you would come back to me with an offer to keep me so we could keep progressing forward. However, everything happens for a reason, and even though I am disappointed with the fact this did not happen, I wish you and this community well in your future endeavors. Houston and Texas County are amazing places, and there are several people that my family and I will hold close to our hearts.”

Harrington read a statement at the meeting, and several council members followed with thanks for his efforts.

Harrington’s last day will be May 17.  He said he would work with the city to insure a smooth transition.

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