New city position would focus on economic development

Special to the GatewayMarch 19, 2014 

Thank you for the opportunity to let you know about the new position I am recommending for the City of Gig Harbor. The job title is quite a mouthful: Economic Development manager/Deputy City Administrator.

The Economic Development manager’s responsibilities include taking a proactive approach to bring quality businesses and jobs to Gig Harbor. Not just any businesses and jobs, but those that would be successful and fit in our town.

For example, many of you have said you want a grocery store downtown. Not a “big box” store, but something much smaller that offers quality produce, meats and groceries.

I’m sure many of you know about grocery stores in other towns that you think would be a good fit for Gig Harbor. I would love to hear from you about those grocery stores, their names and locations. If they have a website, please send it to me at

In January, we sponsored a Gig Harbor booth at the Seattle Boat Show. I talked to many boaters at the show who enjoy visiting Gig Harbor and want to be able to reserve overnight moorage. They want to stay for several days and visit our restaurants and shops, and they want to attend events like summer concerts and movies in our parks.

Visitors help our local businesses succeed, and that is good for our economy.

An Economic Development manager can help make those things happen by focusing on the needs of our citizens and visitors, and by working to fulfil those needs. In order to be successful, this position involves establishing and maintaining excellent working relationships with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance and other organizations whose missions may be similar but whose focus may be a bit different.

A third example includes helping existing businesses succeed in our city. For example, if an existing business is deciding whether to expand in its current location or move out of the city, the Economic Development manager will work with the business owner to meet their needs and expand here in Gig Harbor.

In addition to economic development responsibilities, the new position will also be the Deputy City Administrator.

The City Administrator’s responsibilities include the day-to-day supervision of all city departments and offices. A Deputy City Administrator provides backup and assistance in that area.

While the population of Gig Harbor may be relatively small (7,126 in the 2010 census), the majority of commercial businesses for the entire peninsula are located within our city limits. The city must take an active role in ensuring quality commercial businesses are available, and we must help those businesses succeed.

This position will help ensure that we maintain the quality of life we enjoy and have come to expect.

Gig Harbor is a “jewel,” and we must take the initiative to make certain it remains the best small city in Puget Sound.

Jill Guernsey is the mayor of Gig Harbor. She can be reached by email at

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