JERSEY CITY - Steve Lipski, chief executive of the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC), has resigned his position to accept a job as an assistant principal in the Harrison School District.
Lipski, a former two-term Jersey City councilman for Ward C, has been head of the JCEDC since December 2010. In 2001 Lipski founded the CREATE Charter High School, which was closed by the New Jersey Department of Education in 2010.
"We very much appreciate the work Steve Lipski has done to help promote the economic development of Jersey City and all of his efforts in making resources available to businesses - especially the small businesses - of our city," said Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy.
There has been recent speculation that Lipski might run for his old Ward C seat in the upcoming May 2013 municipal elections. When asked two weeks ago about his political plans Lipski told the Reporter, "I haven't ruled it in and I haven't ruled it out."
An admitted recovering alcoholic, Lipski resigned from the City Council after falling off the wagon in 2008. In November of that year he was arrested in Washington, D.C. after he allegedly urinated on audience members during a concert by a Grateful Dead tribute band. He ultimately paid a $50, served a year on probation, and did community service. Since then, Lipski said he has focused on maintaining his sobriety. He added that he would only consider another run for office next year if it would not jeopardize his recovery. Councilwoman Nidia Lopez currently represents Ward C.
A semi-autonomous agency, the JCEDC is charged with promoting, encouraging, and assisting the industrial, commercial, and economic development of Jersey City. The organization tries to increase employment opportunities and the city's tax revenue.
The JCEDC has administered the City's Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program since 1987, and has overseen the reinvestment of more than $129 million in UEZ funds since its founding. UEZ business enrollments have accounted for the creation of more than 28,800 full-time jobs and over $13 billion in private investments. The JCEDC also supports Jersey City's small businesses and microenterprises by providing technical assistance as well as access to loans.
Since Lipski was hired at the JCEDC the agency has been reorganized, with its Small Business Assistance Program being revamped and expanded. The organization assumed responsibility for Destination Jersey City, the city's official marketing organization.
Despite this, 2013 mayoral candidate Steven Fulop has proposed eliminated the JCEDC altogether and last year raised questions regarding Lipski's salary.
Lipski's initial salary at the JCEDC was $1, which was increased last year to $65,000. The agency had tried to raise his salary to $95,000 before Fulop complained. - E. Assata Wright