Youngstown, Ohio, mayor to be 'auto czar'

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Youngstown, Ohio, Mayor Jay Williams will lead the Obama administration's efforts to help communities dependent on the auto industry recover, officials said.

Beginning Aug. 8, Williams will be executive director of the Labor Department's Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Wednesday in a release.


Williams will lead the federal office as it helps auto communities identify resources that could be used as part of their recovery efforts, the Labor Department said.

"When others wanted to abandon the auto industry and its workers, President Obama stood up for them. Through his strong leadership, the industry is recovering. The many small businesses that rely upon, and are impacted by, the health of the industry have survived, and in many cases thrived," Solis said.

An executive order Obama signed Wednesday outlines steps to coordinate policies on automotive communities and workers.

Obama said the purpose of the executive order is "to continue the coordinated federal response to factors affecting automotive communities and workers and to ensure that federal programs and policies address these concerns."


Obama said the labor secretary would work to develop policies and programs within government agencies and departments to coordinate a federal response to "factors that have a distinct impact on automotive communities and workers," including coordinating economic adjustment assistance activities.

The labor secretary also will make recommendations to the president on executive branch policy proposals that would affect automotive communities and changes to existing policies and programs meant to address issues of special importance to automotive communities and workers.

In addition, the labor secretary will reach out to public, private, business and non-profit organizations and bring to the president concerns, ideas and policy options for expanding and improving efforts to revitalize automotive communities.

During the last 10 years, the United States experienced a loss in employment in the automotive industry and associated industries, which accelerated dramatically in 2009, Obama said in the executive order.

"Now, two years later, the American automotive industry is beginning to recover," Obama said, noting gains in employment, exports and market share. "However, we still have a long way to go."

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