City hires new development chief

City officials announced the appointment of Kelly Murphy, a deputy in the New York City Department of City Planning, to the position of New Haven Economic Development Administrator last week. Murphy will replace Henry Fernandez LAW ’94, who resigned in March after nearly seven years on the job.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., with the assistance of Interim Economic Development Administrator Wendy Clarke, interviewed candidates for the position, Deputy Director of Economic Development Tony Bialecki said. Clarke, who did not apply for the position herself, will resume her duties as deputy development administrator, Bialecki said.

Murphy gained experience with city planning and urban economic development at her current post in New York as well as her previous positions as county planner in northern New Jersey and division director in the Chicago’s Department of Housing.

Aside from adjusting to a new environment, Bialecki said Murphy’s primary concern should be to promote responsible development while balancing the needs of different segments of the New Haven community.

“Being able to balance the development growth amongst all sectors of the community … [and] moving in the right direction in terms of jobs and appropriate types of development in each area are some of the biggest challenges,” Bialecki said.

Fernandez, who oversaw the arrival of the IKEA furniture store in New Haven and the expansion of Tweed-New Haven Airport during his appointment, said Murphy has exciting opportunities to work with.

“I wish her well,” Fernandez said. “I think she’s got a great staff and a great city to work with.”

Murphy was appointed at a time of controversy regarding various development projects. Decisions on various aspects of the $230 million Gateway Redevelopment project and the Yale-New Haven Cancer Center are expected in the coming months, and construction on the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School is slated to begin next spring.

Yale officials said they applaud DeStefano’s choice and look forward to collaborating with Murphy.

“The Mayor has made an excellent appointment to this important position in a city government that has many projects important to the future of New Haven underway,” Vice President of the Office of New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander said. “We at Yale very much look forward to supporting Kelly Murphy in whatever way we can.”

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