By LOU WILIN
Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik on Thursday was nominated as director of the Ohio Development Services Agency under Gov.-elect Mike DeWine.
DeWine will assume office Jan. 14. Mihalik and the other Cabinet nominees will then begin serving on an interim basis until they are confirmed by the Ohio Senate.
She plans to resign as mayor at midnight Jan. 13.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Mihalik said. “When the governor of the state of Ohio asks you to serve, it’s something that you obviously take seriously, and I was happy to say ‘yes.'”
The Development Services Agency collaborates with JobsOhio for economic development. It also oversees TourismOhio.
Under Mihalik’s watch as mayor, Findlay has been ranked first for business growth for four straight years among 575 small cities nationwide.
“As head of the Development Services Agency, she will bring this expertise plus her passion for advocacy to lead this important agency that works with JobsOhio to promote Ohio as a premier business location,” DeWine said. “Because of her success in Findlay, she will obviously be a tremendous asset for Ohio communities in this new role.”
DeWine said Mihalik also will bring important expertise about local government to his Cabinet.
“One of the things that you will find with the DeWine administration is that while each member of the Cabinet will have his or her responsibilities, frankly we will look to each one of them to help us in other areas as well,” he said. “She brings a great deal of experience from the local level.”
Mihalik, 39, is in her second term as mayor. She was elected Findlay’s first female mayor in 2011.
DeWine cited Mihalik’s attention to issues like flood reduction and improving the way the city delivers services to residents.
“One of the things I’m really excited about relative to this appointment is the opportunity to be a great relationship-builder with local governments around the state,” Mihalik said. “The governor-elect and I have talked at length about the opportunities there are to improve those relationships.”
DeWine got his start in local government; he is a former Greene County prosecutor. Local government officials through the years have lamented a pattern of the state heaping costly burdens on communities and giving little corresponding support.
“It has been clear from the governor-elect that he values local government in the state of Ohio,” Mihalik said. “He has said on several different occasions that the state of Ohio is made up of local governments. Those are the entities that are responsible for delivering services to our residents, our constituents. He understands that there is work to be done. I am really excited that I am going to be a part of improving that relationship.”
Wilin: 419-427-8413 Send an E-mail to Lou Wilin