Former Youngstown mayor expected to have a confirmation hearing later this month

Williams is seeking to head the federal Economic Development Administration


Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams is expected to have a confirmation hearing this month, likely Dec. 17, on his presidential appointment to head the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing was tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday, but was pushed back a week. It’s still not on the committee’s public schedule, but those with information about the hearing say it will be Dec. 17, starting at 2:30 p.m.

After the committee decides on Williams, the full Senate needs to confirm the appointment.

Williams and spokeswomen for the committee declined to comment on the hearing.

President Barack Obama nominated Williams to the post — the official title is U.S. Department of Commerce assistant secretary for economic development — on Sept. 10.

The EDA leads the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and collaboration, and helping communities build the foundation for long-term growth, according to the White House.

The Senate voted 52-48, largely along party lines with Democrats in the majority, last month to eliminate the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees to executive and judicial nominees.

Before that vote, sometimes referred to as the “nuclear option,” the support of at least 60 senators was needed before that body could vote. Now only 51 are needed. There are 53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats in the 100-member Senate.

Without the 60-vote filibuster, William Binning, a retired Youngstown State University political science department chairman, said Williams’ confirmation by the Senate should “go rather smoothly. It’s safe to say Jay will get confirmed.”

After six and a half years as Youngstown mayor, Williams resigned on Aug. 1, 2011, to be the executive director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.

That position had him as the federal point man on helping communities and workers adversely impacted by the struggles of the domestic automotive industry.

On June 8, 2012, Williams was selected as deputy director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, a job that had him work on behalf of the White House with elected officials from cities, towns and countries.

That appointment was for a year with Williams also handling the auto job responsibilities — which he continues to do while awaiting confirmation.

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