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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

City of Dayton names Jay Fossett as its new chief administrative officer

Former Covington City Manager has served as interim City Administrator since Jan. 2

Jay Fossett.

Mayor Ben Baker announced at the Dayton City Council meeting tonight that the city is hiring Jay Fossett to serve as the city’s new Chief Administrative Officer, replacing Michael Giffen who left the city in December to become Highland Heights’ City Administrator.

Fossett, a Fort Thomas resident who was a former City Manager and City Solicitor for the City of Covington, has served as Dayton’s Interim City Administrator since Jan. 2.

“Jay Fossett has the vision, connections, training, and experience to effectively manage our city’s operations and to guide our economic and community development opportunities into the future,” Mayor Baker said. “The entire City Council is excited about working with Jay to continue the ongoing renaissance we are experiencing in our community.” 

Fossett served as Covington City Manager from 2005 to 2009, when that city began its transformational economic and community development efforts, which have been underway in Covington for the past 15 years. He also served as Covington’s first full-time City Solicitor from 2001 to 2005. Prior to his work in Covington, Fossett was a trial lawyer for 14 years. 

Since 2009, Fossett has been a partner in Strategic Advisers, a public relations, public affairs, and digital media agency he founded with Patrick Crowley. Fossett will leave the day-to-day operations at Strategic Advisers and Crowley and another partner, Greg Greene, will continue to operate the Newport, Ky.-based business.

“After working as Dayton’s Interim City Administrator for the past two months, I came to realize how much I missed public management and the joy and purpose it brings to me,” Fossett said. “During that time, I’ve been very impressed with the passion and dedication I’ve seen in not only the Mayor and City Council but also Dayton’s city staff. I believe the City of Dayton is well positioned and has a strong foundation for a very bright future.” 

Fossett said the city’s historic housing stock, the ongoing construction projects in the Manhattan Harbour neighborhood along the Ohio River, and the drastic improvement Dayton Independent Schools have demonstrated over the past nine years are the reasons for his optimism.

“Under the leadership of Superintendent Jay Brewer and the school boards, Dayton’s public school system has transformed from one of the worst school systems in the state to one of the best in our region, achieving the esteemed recognition as a ‘Distinguished School District,’” Fossett said. “This is a remarkable achievement for an older, urban city like Dayton and it provides a great opportunity for us to market our city to the parents of young families who looking for affordable housing in a diverse city with excellent public education.”

Fossett said he will focus much of his energy as City Administrator dealing with vacant and blighted properties and supporting strong code enforcement to ensure that all property owners properly maintain their properties. He also said he wants to take steps to encourage and foster the rehabilitation of more residential and business properties in the 154-year-old city. 

Fossett is expected to start his work as the full-time City Administrator on March 15.

Fossett, a Holmes High School graduate, obtained journalism and political science degrees from the University of Kentucky in 1981. He worked as a newspaper reporter and editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal and The Kentucky Post for four years before attending Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.

He’s also a 2010 graduate of the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business at NKU, where he obtained a master’s degree in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change, which teaches and applies the most current theories and practices on executive leadership and organizational change.

Fossett currently serves on the board of directors of the Covington Business Council, the Gateway Foundation, and the Tom Ellis Athletic Foundation, which supports student athletes and athletic programs at Holmes High School. He also served one term as a city councilman on the Fort Thomas City Council.

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