Liset Márquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/29/2010 09:03:17 PM PDT

Mary Jane Olhasso is leaving her job as Ontario’s economic development director to assume control of the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency.

While in Ontario, Olhasso worked with city leaders to generate 4,000 new jobs and close to $135million in employee wages, officials said.

Olhasso told City Manager Chris Hughes of her decision on Thursday.

“I am confident Mary Jane will be equally effective in helping us develop and realize the board’s vision for the future of the county of San Bernardino,” said Greg Devereaux, county administrative officer.

Devereaux, formerly Ontario’s city manager, appointed Olhasso, county spokesman David Wert said.

Speculation that Olhasso would step in as the new leader of the county agency started shortly after the agency’s former director, Mark Dowling, resigned April 20.

Olhasso could not be reached for comment.

“She’s done a great job for Ontario and clearly she worked well with Greg in building the economy in Ontario,” Councilman Jim Bowman said.

Earlier this week, the county Board of Supervisors agreed to increase the pay for the EDA director from $159,000 to $169,000.

Many in the region felt the move was an incentive to get Olhasso to leave Ontario, said Ruby Simpson, founding president of the Commercial Real Estate Women’s Association, Inland Empire chapter.

Olhasso faces several challenges in trying to market the county to companies, said Simpson, a commercial broker in the county who has known Olhasso several years.

“Hopefully, she will bring the kind of enthusiasm and success from Ontario to the county of San Bernardino, which is in a world of hurt,” Simpson said.

Olhasso’s final day working for Ontario has not been determined as the details of her resignation are still being discussed, Hughes said.

Olhasso’s replacement has not been named.

Described by Devereaux as highly intelligent and an effective leader, Olhasso was key in carrying out the philosophy adopted in Ontario – the city is a corporation.

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