In April, Community Development Director Ashley Feeney announced he was leaving his post after a little over two years with the city of Davis to pursue opportunities in the private sector. At the time, the city tapped the well-respected Heidi Tchsudin as the interim Community Development Director as the city looked for a permanent replacement.
That search has ironically led the city back where they started, as on Friday, they announced they were naming Ashley Feeney back into the role he left eight months ago – with added responsibility.
His new role is that of Assistant City Manager and he will be charged with overseeing Community & Economic Development for the City.
The second assistant city manager position had been vacant since Mike Webb was promoted to City Manager last fall to replace Dirk Brazil.
In addition, by expanding Mr. Feeney’s role to take the lead on economic development, the city is signaling it is serious about fully realizing the city’s potential in that regard.
Mr. Feeney had served the city from March 2016 to April 2018 and in December 2017, he was named Community Development Director to replace Mr. Webb. In this new role, Mr. Feeney will be responsible for overseeing the Community Development Department but will also be the City’s lead on economic development, the city announced in a statement.
Mr. Feeney has prior experience both with the City of Davis and in various executive leadership roles in private real estate development. During his tenure with the City, Feeney led efforts to develop the local cannabis regulatory framework. He was also at the forefront of the City review and consideration of several key proposals and long range planning efforts, including the Hyatt House and Residence Inn hotels, multiple housing and mixed use proposals, review of the UC Davis Long Range Development Plan, and the kick-off of the Downtown Plan update.
“Through his experience in planning, environmental review, community engagement, design, economics, real estate, construction, and team leadership, Mr. Feeney brings a unique and well-rounded perspective of local community development,” the city’s press release indicated.
Moreover, Mr. Feeney will put his expertise to work to spearhead local economic development initiatives, including the honing and implementation of a City economic development strategy. Mr. Feeney will also be key in the implementation of strategic partnerships identified in the MOU recently reached with UC Davis, the city added.
“Mr. Feeney will be the City’s face to economic development and will be key to advancing economic development initiatives that are in keeping with City Council policy direction and Davis values,” says City Manager Mike Webb.
Mr. Feeney will report directly to the City Manager and will partner with the Director of Business and Community Engagement, Diane Parro, who will focus on strategic communications and business relations.
“The opportunity to come back and serve the City in an expanded role is very exciting. Davis is recognized as a highly-desirable city which has been shaped through a history of community members that care deeply about the place they live, work and play. Davis is unique and has a lot to offer and I look forward to joining Mr. Webb, my colleagues, and the community in advancing City Council goals and initiatives. I have a great sense of optimism for the years ahead,” says Ashley Feeney.
“His even-keeled approach and keen ability to facilitate discussion amongst a wide range of interests, combined with his passion for high-quality design, creating inviting and vibrant public spaces, and expertise in project economics, augment the City team,” the press release stated.
“Mr. Feeney has proven himself as a caring and thoughtful leader, with an open and welcoming leadership style, as well as a pro-active and creative problem solver with strong analytic and consensus-building skills.”
Mr. Feeney is a graduate of Humboldt State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. Mr. Feeney has long-established roots in the Sacramento Valley and along with his wife Cynthia, has two sons.
Mr. Feeney will begin in his new capacity effective December 17, 2018.
—David M. Greenwald reporting