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Finalists named for Janesville economic post

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ANN MARIE AMES
August 7, 2009
— A committee will spend today observing and interviewing five finalists for the job as the city of Janesville's economic development director.

The new director will replace Doug Venable, who will retire at the end of the year. Venable will be working through October at least, City Manager Eric Levitt told WCLO radio. Levitt's goal is to have the new director work alongside Venable for at least 30 days, he said.


"I don't want to go without an economic development director for any period of time," Levitt said.


The candidates have been given a mock "problem" and must present solutions, Levitt said. The candidates also will interview with a committee that includes Levitt and James Otterstein, Rock County's economic development manager.


The finalists are:


-- Russell Adams, Naples, Fla. Adams has been the Community Redevelopment Agency Director in Naples since August 2007. Naples has a population of 24,000. The agency deals with a socially and economically diverse population, according to an online copy of Adams' resume.


-- Charlene Coulombe-Fiore, Roscoe, Ill. Coulombe-Fiore is a consultant who has worked as an employee of cities, counties and villages in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, according to her online resume.


From 2007 to 2008, Coulombe-Fiore worked as the economic development director for the city of Northfield, Minn., a city of 17,000.


Coulombe-Fiore in July filed a lawsuit against the city of Northfield, according to a report in the Northfield News.


The claim alleges disability and gender discrimination in her departure.


An attorney for the city denied the allegations. The attorney said Coulombe-Fiore was forced to resign because of her performance.


-- Victor Grassman, Denver. Grassman is the senior economic development officer in Denver.


Metropolitan Denver has a population of 2.7 million people. Grassman also has worked as a co-chairman of the Colorado/Wyoming Alliance.


-- Gregory Halverson is the director of the Buchanan County Economic Development Agency in Independence, Iowa. Independence is located in northeast Iowa. It is the Buchanan County seat and has a population of 6,000 residents.


-- Robert Skurla is the president of R. Skurla Associates Development, in Rockford, Ill. Skurla has worked as the executive director of the Northwest Illinois Development Alliance and for the city of Beloit.



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