Woodberry to Step Down as City’s Economic Development Director

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — T. Sharon Woodberry, economic development director for Youngstown, is leaving her post with the city, officials have confirmed. 

Woodberry has not formally submitted her letter of resignation but internally announced her intention to leave the office, Nikki Posterli, chief of staff to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and director of the city’s department of community planning and economic development, said Tuesday.

“I really can’t comment on it until it’s official in writing,” Posterli said. And for that reason, she declined to discuss how the city would address Woodberry’s departure. 

Woodberry could not be reached for comment. According to her voicemail, she is out of her office until Monday. Rumors about Woodberry’s impending departure have swirled over the past several days.

Woodberry, an East High School graduate who earned her baccalaureate in public administration from Eastern Michigan University, was hired as a secretary in the city’s economic development department in 1998. After the city created the position of development officer for her two years later, she was named deputy director of the office and eventually rose to director in 2007.

In 2014, then-Mayor John McNally named Woodberry as director of the newly created department of community planning and economic development, which was created from the merger of three existing departments.

In 2019, Brown reorganized the department, naming Posterli director and Woodberry economic development director.

Two City Council members who confirmed they were aware of Woodberry’s plans each expressed concern about her impending departure. 

Councilwoman Basia Adamczak, who represents the city’s 7th Ward and is chairwoman of Council’s community planning and economic development committee, said Woodberry informed her of her plans before the committee’s April 4 meeting. 

“I do have concerns. We are short staffed already as it is,” she said. “It’s very difficult to find talent to come into the city.” 

Additionally, Woodberry’s departure is unfortunate because she has been here for so long and knows “the ins and outs” of the city, not just in terms of the incentives the city offers but also how to advertise and market the area, Adamczak continued. 

Third Ward Councilwoman Samantha Turner said she also recently learned that another employee is going to be leaving the economic development office. The office is already operating on a “skeleton crew” and having someone in the economic development director’s role is “pivotal” to the city’s growth. 

“We’re just feeling like there’s going to be an uptick in growth,” she said. “I really hope that we can get out there and get these positions filled in a quality manner and in a timely manner.”

Adamczak said Posterli reached out to her recently and said they would meet soon to brainstorm a strategy for the department. 

Pictured: File photo of T. Sharon Woodberry during the press conference for the launch of the YO! App in November 2021.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.