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First Latino Director in Lorain City Administration

By Antonio Barrios,
La Prensa Correspondent

For as long as residents can remember, the past city administrations have never appointed a Latino director to any city department in the history of the City of Lorain. Finally Mayor Chase Ritenauer, with a long awaited decision, has broken the glass ceiling.

On Tuesday September 10, 2013 at the meeting of the Civil Service Commission held in City Council Chambers the mayor sent a glowing letter requesting the appointment of Mr. Rey Carrion as the new Director of the newly reorganized Building, Housing, and Planning Department.

In his letter, Mayor Ritenauer expounded the diligent, hard working ethics of Mr. Carrion and credited his work on the new Lorain County Land Bank that has brought in needed dollars for all of the new demolitions going on about the City of Lorain.

The mayor’s letter stated: “Put in an impossible situation and a mess he did not  create, it is my firm belief that Mr. Carrion has earned the opportunity to lead….With a new department, refined objectives, and a leader who, when the times got to be the toughest, grinded it out in circumstances that were set up for failure, Mr. Carrion performed admirably.” 

For the past 3 years, Carrion was the Acting Director of the City Community Development Department, a department that was reorganized and merged with the City Building Department.

Rey Carrion was born in 1966 in Rio Piedras Puerto Rico, a suburb of the capital city San Juan; it is also home to main campus of the University of Puerto Rico. Carrion came to Lorain with his family, following in his grandfathers footsteps, who was recruited by US Steel to come work in their Lorain plant about 1947.

Also keeping with his father's tradition who was the Director of Economic Development for the City of Hato Rey Puerto Rico Mr. Carrion received his Bachelors of Science in Technology; majoring in Architectural/Environmental Design at Bowling Green State University, while his father’s Bachelors degree was in Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico.

His mother earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Puerto Rico, she had her own art studio and taught  classes in the arts. Also she ran her own kiosk and sold her art in La Plaza de las Américas in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Carrion began school in Lorain in 7th grade at the old Whittier High School in South Lorain;  he graduated from Southview HS and went on to graduate from Bowling Green State University. He had to put his degree on hold as he met and married Orquedia with which he has two children, Rey Jr. and Alexis. Carrion returned to his studies between working at City Hall, raising a family of four, and traveling weekly to campus.

Since about 1992, in one position or the other, Mr. Carrion started his career at the Lorain City Administration Department as an intern and slowly worked his way up to junior planner, to project manager, to construction manager; and then in 2011 he took on the duties of Interim Director of Community Development. Now, by appointment, the first Latino Director of Building, Housing and Planning at the City of Lorain. Another first for the Latino population in City of Lorain which has grown to approximately 25 percent of the total population.

Carrion said he was relieved that the temporal status was finally resolved and now he can continue to do his best to help Mayor Ritenauer put into practice some elements of the somewhat forgotten Staubach Report, commissioned many years ago but shelved to collect dust. This report highlighted the major obstacles that are hindering the progress of the City of Lorain. Some of the problems noted are the infrastructure: roads, buildings, blight, and the relocation of the city water treatment plant.

He stated that Lorain City School District has now the most modern buildings and up-to-date systems in the State of Ohio. Soon the district will move out of its’ current status with the Ohio School System and get back to improving the lives of the local students who attend school here.

As far as infrastructure, Carrion commended the mayor: “The mayor is doing a difficult job of fixing the infrastructure; he has got the roads problem on track, the high tension lines are being rerouted, new water and sewage lines are being replaced.”

“We need to fix and remove these obstacles to move the city forward along with our school system, which is an important indicator of the livability, educated workforce, and future growth of a city.”


Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/17/13 20:15:40 -0700.




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