After barely five months on the job, Governor Hickenlooper's part-time Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Dwayne Romero, is already leaving. He leaves unfinished the statewide "bottom-up" economic development plan that he was responsible for, forcing Hick's top lawyer to handle it. With Romero's resignation, Ken Lund, the Governor's chief legal counsel, will take over the OEDIT.
Nobody knows economic development like lawyers.
It's striking that this political appointment flamed out so quickly, especially this early into Hick's first term. Hickenlooper had high expectations for Romero when he praised his business experience and leadership skills when he appointed him, saying in a press release:
“Dwayne Romero knows how to create jobs and lead organizations,” Hickenlooper said. “He helped stabilize and build successful businesses in the Colorado mountains, most recently in Snowmass Village. Dwayne has the necessary leadership training and business management experiences to promote economic development in Colorado and beyond its borders.”
Such a leader that he left the statewide economic plan unfinished. That’s not leadership in our book.
For a Governor who is supposedly so focused on economic development, having his head of economic development ditch the job only months into the gig calls into question Hick's judgement and commitment to economic development. The reason that Romero gives for resigning highlights just how poor a decision Hickenlooper made in appointing him. Per the Denver Post:
Romero, 45, had continued working part time at his job in Snowmass Village, where he is president of Related Snowmass, a division of New York development and investment firm Related Cos.
He had been commuting between his home in Aspen and Denver since January.
…"It was a tough set of priorities, and I knew that going in," Romero said, "but I wanted to at least give this a shot."
Give it a shot? Coloradans expect a little more than the old college try from the Hickenlooper administration when it comes to job creation and economic development. It is certainly not a part-time job. Why Hickenlooper thought he'd have success with a guy only willing to contribute part of his time is beyond us.
In the end, this flame out was all too predictable. If Hickenlooper is truly serious about economic development he might want to focus on appointing people that are willing to actually, you know, do the job.