City economic development director Gary Golightly resigned this week, saying he wants to pursue other interests.
Mayor George Stewart's strict enforcement of a policy requiring city department directors to live in Provo also factored into Golightly's decision. He currently resides in Orem.In a brief resignation letter, Golightly said only that "it is a good time for me to pursue other exciting interests." He did not return a telephone call to the Deseret News Thursday.
Stewart has no immediate plans to replace Golightly and said he will act as economic development director.
That Golightly and Stewart didn't see eye to eye on the proposed high-rise hotel in the Riverbottoms might have also contributed to his departure. Golightly favored the eight-story building, while Stewart prefers the hotel to not rise above five stories.
Stewart described his approach to economic development as a "little more conservative."
"I don't know if there was a difference in opinion but differences in style," Stewart said. "Obviously, he saw a different mayor than he was used to working with."
Golightly served on the City Council four years before Mayor Joe Jenkins appointed him economic development director Aug. 1, 1986.
During his tenure, Golightly helped Provo prosper through his business recruitment and retention efforts. The East Bay Business Park filled up under his leadership. Golightly also spearheaded the city's bid to build a regional shopping mall in south Provo.
While the city will no longer employ Golightly, he will work with a program and a project associated with Provo. He has accepted a new job as executive director for the Greater Provo Open, a nonprofit corporation formed to sponsor a golf tournament to benefit the Care for Kids Foundation. The tournament has closely relied on the city for support, but Stewart wants it to operate on its own.
Golightly will also work as a local consultant for Rohit Joshi, a Los-Angeles-based real estate developer trying to build a mall in south Provo.
"I think that's a real smart move. It will enhance our ability to get the mall," Stewart said.
The mayor does not intend to find a successor to Golightly for at least five to six months. Stewart will ask the City Council to add the position of assistant director and intends to name Albert Kanahele, the city' business development specialist, to the position.