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Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb names hires for economic development, sustainability and workforce

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb looks over his right shoulder while walking into a room, flanked by Council President Blaine Griffin.
Nick Castele
Ideastream Public Media
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb before a news conference in May.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb on Thursday named his picks to lead the city’s efforts in economic development, sustainability and workforce development.

Bibb named Michelle Rose as executive director of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Workforce Development Board, which helps to connect job seekers and employers in the county.

Rose, a Painesville Township native, most recently worked as acting assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. She previously worked for seven years in the Labor Department during the Obama administration.

“From day one, Michelle Rose has been a trusted advisor and strong leader as Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, a former mayor of Boston, is quoted as saying in a city news release. “As a former mayor, I'm thrilled she is bringing her expertise to drive change at a local level.”

Tessa Jackson, Bibb’s selection for economic development director, comes to Cleveland from New Orleans. She replaces David Ebersole, who left City Hall for a job as vice president of development finance at the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

At the investment advisory firm Hackett Robertson Tobe Group, Jackson worked to set up a fund for Black-owned business ventures, according to her LinkedIn page. She previously worked for the AFL-CIO Investment Trust and AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust.

Bibb also announced the hiring of Sarah O’Keeffe as director of sustainability and climate justice, a position within the mayor’s office focused on environmental issues. O’Keeffe previously worked as sustainability director at the MetroHealth System.

“These deeply experienced professionals bring a tremendous amount of innovation, passion and expertise to the administration,” Bibb said in the news release. “Their leadership and accomplishments are impressive, and I look forward to what we will achieve together for the city and the region.”

The mayor announced the latest raft of hires Thursday as he nears the six-month mark of his first year in office. He has brought new faces to City Hall, including hires with experience in the federal government and outside of Cleveland, while retaining others from the administration of former Mayor Frank Jackson.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.