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Thanks, OCCD For The Memories

Jack Riordan September 29, 2020

Thanks, OCCD For The Memories

As the old song says, “Breaking up is hard to do”.  Only Fritz has been around longer.  My 48 years flew by and I went from Young Turk to Old Fart.  The face-to-face feedback from OCCD’s original members helped me understand a new job and helped OCCD evolve from the Urban Renewal Association of Ohio to the Ohio Conference of Community Development.  OCCD helped local governments take on new freedoms and responsibilities of new programs (CDBG) and clean up and close a bevy of old contracts, real hornets’ nests of conflicting rules, regulations and federal oversight behaviors.  Thanks to OCCD, HUD’s, “You can’t do that” became, “Let’s see if we can find away.”

We went from typewritten correspondence and dial phones to cell phones and computers on every desk.  From thick books of laws and regulations to Internet with all the answers, if you could find the status of latest version.  We went from meetings of seventeen, almost exclusively men in suits and ties, to now mostly well-dressed women.

Shortly, the state began administering CDBG and their own programs and deciding what towns got the money.  In 1990, the HOME Program entered, and we went from one or two government funders and private money to programs with six sources and rooms full of lawyers with multiple, conflicting perspectives and requirements, which left an overworked local government person with the ultimate responsibility.  OCCD found ways to help untangle the mess and share solutions.  In 2004, Debra Mayes and I joined the staff to find ways to ease the pain of too many rules with less and less funding.

Thanks for the challenges, friendships, and fun.

Oh, yes, VOTE your job depends on it.


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