LONGMONT - The city of Longmont has eliminated the positions of economic development director and economic development manager as it prepares to transfer economic-development programs and services to the Longmont Area Economic Council later this summer.

Brad Power, who was the city's economic development director, will remain employed with the city through July 1, which corresponds with the date of his five-year retirement vesting period. Doug Bene, who served as economic development manager, and Power will receive severance packages and outplacement services.

"We want to acknowledge the many contributions both Brad and Doug have made to the organization," Lewis said. "Although the city and our partners ultimately chose a different organizational structure that affected their positions, they have certainly grown economic-development services in Longmont and provided a strong foundation on which to build."

The city and the LAEC signed a contract April 29 for the nonprofit business recruitment and retention organization to head the city's economic-development efforts. The LAEC receives funding from the city and member organizations.

Full transfer of duties, which will include development programs for small businesses including retail shops, will take place once LAEC has hired the necessary staff to take on city programs, assistant city manager Shawn Lewis said Thursday in correspondence sent to city employees explaining how the city is restructuring its economic-development and planning departments. The LAEC is conducting a search for a new president to replace John Cody, who resigned last year to take a similar job in Thornton.

The new department will be called the Planning and Development Services Department. Lewis said the city's primary role in economic development should be creating a healthy business climate through effective and efficient planning and development review processes.

Since the merger of the former Community Development Department with the functions of economic vitality, long-term planning has not received the level of attention found in most cities comparable in size to Longmont, he said.

He said the organizational change will provide new focus for the department to create a new comprehensive plan, update the comp plan regularly, provide for special area land-use plans, maintain up-to-date fee schedules, and modify land-use and development codes on an ongoing basis to reflect a changing community.

Development Services manager Joni Marsh will serve as the director of the new department. All staff currently in the Economic Development Department will be under Marsh's supervision with the exception of David Starnes.

Starnes will lead the city's new Redevelopment & Revitalization Division. He will continue to coordinate all redevelopment activities of the city, serve as executive director of the Longmont Urban Renewal Authority and facilitate approval of economic development incentives that will be coordinated by LAEC but approved by or presented to city council by Starnes.