Cicilline eases out touted economic guy

UPDATE: I was mistaken in reporting that the PEDP voted not to renew Eversley's contact. Cicilline says the non-renewal came after he recommended the move to the partnership's personnel committee. And Eversley says that in essence, "The contract just sort of ran out."      

Three years ago, Brown University President Ruth Simmons hosted a reception to welcome back to Providence Donald C. Eversley, a Brown grad (1980) who had signed on to head the Providence Economic Development Partnership (PEDP). A private reception at the John Carter Brown Library featured some other distinguished Brown grads, including Governor Carcieri and Eversley's new boss, Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline.

Now, as N4N has learned, the PEDP -- at Cicilline's behest -- has voted opted not to renew Eversley's contract, which expired in April. Under an agreement with the city, he has agreed to remain on the job until the fall.

Asked why his contract was not renewed, Eversley tells me, "I have no clue. I'd be happy to [stay]." There's a lot of economic development work still to be done, he notes.

Cicilline, who serves as chairman of the PEDP, cites the non-renewal as part of a reorganization to improve economic development efforts in Providence, with the likely addition of a Cabinet-level post of economic development director. He finds no fault with the performance of Eversley, who earns a $110,000 salary.


Eversley, a UPenn Law School grad, previously served as director of Workforce and Business Development for the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. He says he also worked during the mayoral tenures of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.


Some of Cicilline's City Council critics, including John Lombardi and Luis Aponte, expressed disappointment about Eversley's tenure. Aponte says there should have been a stronger effort to attract and retain small businesses, while Lombardi cites a lack of communication.


Eversley, though, who claims credit for moving forward the PEDP -- which was formerly known as the Providence Economic Development Corporation, and mostly focused on aiding new restaurants, during the Buddy Cianci era -- lays claim to a litany of accomplishments. "I think I've the put the city on the map in terms of economic development," he says. Before, the PEDC had "no public profile, no marketing, no presence." Now, Eversley says, it has a Web site, a magazine-style economic development guide, a seven-minute promotional DVD, created with the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, and a big display at T.F. Green Airport.


Eversley says the PEDP has made about 50 economic development lonas, totaling roughly $8 million, which have leveraged $50 million in project financing. The partnership, he says, has also funded about 500,000-square-feet of commercial development, including new homes for Cuban Revolution, Murphy's, the Olneyville Housing Corporation, and the Dreyfus Hotel project.


He says the partnership has helped to attract and retain roughly 1000 jobs in Providence, and that his feedback from City Hall and the private sector has been "really positive."

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