Davison speaks out about the past and the future

STEUBENVILLE – Cathy Davison spent Tuesday night watching her son’s Little League game.

“After the game was over, John ran over and hugged me because he was happy I could be at his game. That wasn’t the case before, and John enjoyed me being there to watch him in the baseball game,” Davison said in an interview with the Herald-Star.

Tuesday nights always were reserved for City Council meetings until Davison was asked to resign following a council executive session two weeks ago.

Davison made it official last week when she submitted her resignation to council members, who will consider an ordinance Tuesday night accepting her decision and agreeing to a $42,136.17 severance package that includes four months salary as well as unpaid sick and vacation pay.

“I am disappointed by what happened because I am not able to see the 10-year strategic plan the council and I created in 2010 to fruition. There is a natural anger when you lose your job. I am also sorry that I won’t see the city employees on a daily basis. I have enjoyed my time as city manager and believe the city has a good future. But after months of trying to move the city forward, it has become apparent that City Council and I do not have the same vision for the city of Steubenville,” Davison commented.

“But, I also had to ask if moving on was best for me, and it absolutely was. My health was being affected and my family was affected. As city manager, I was forced to make compromises with my family. My family and friends are what really matter to me, as well as my health,” said Davison.

“I do feel pride in what I was able to accomplish as city manager. We now have a 10-year strategic plan in place following a two-day retreat with the council members and department heads. The new strategic plan led to a new comprehensive plan that hadn’t been updated since 1964. The strategic plan will bring about economic development and change for the city in the future. We were also able to meet with Standard & Poors to tell our city’s story. And, that meeting resulted in an A-rating, which was outstanding,” related Davison.

“Yes, I made mistakes. But I worked hard for our community. I was involved in discussions with county leaders that saw the city agree to treat sewage from Pottery Addition, and the formation of a viable Jefferson County Port Authority. I have been involved in the planning of the hometown celebration that will continue to attract out-of-town visitors and area families to the downtown. And there are more opportunities for growth and development,” declared Davison.

Davison said she and her family will remain in the area.

“My family and I will be staying in the area because we love it here. As I stated when I first became Steubenville’s city manager, the Ohio Valley is a great place to raise a family and the area has a lot to offer. For the residents of Steubenville, I will not be a stranger around town and anticipate continuing my work on projects that promote economic development activities in our area,” Davison said.

“The Ohio Valley has a lot to offer and we are happy here. When I spoke to the Faith in the Future breakfast in 2010, I quoted from Jeremiah, who said God had a plan for all of us. I truly believe the Lord has a plan for me to be here and I am meant to be here,” Davison said.

“I want to stay involved with the events committee through the visitors center. I am also on the Grand Theater Restoration Project board of directors and plan to stay involved with that work. Scott Dressel had approached me because the Grand Theater was on the demolition list and he wanted to save the historic building. I put on tennis shoes and walked through the theater. And I saw the potential for the future of the structure and what could be done as far as plays, movies and live performances,” she related.

“I was excited because I used to sing with the Michigan Opera group and its home was originally a dilapidated, rundown theater. But it was renovated into an Italian-style opera house in the heart of downtown Detroit. And, after it was completed, Luciano Pavarotti came to sing with the Michigan Opera. So I know the Grand Theater can be saved and turned into a cultural and entertainment center for the downtown,” stated Davison.

“At this point I am resting and relaxing. I have been working on several projects around the house, fixing dinner every night and doing some baking. My son and husband think it’s great. And my family and I are spending time at Austin Lake. I definitely enjoy being in the country, and Austin Lake is a great place to relax with family and friends,” she noted.

“It has been a sad time for our city. The community has been under attack from outside sources for about a year now. But the city will survive. We had the threat of a lawsuit from the Foundation for Religious Freedom concerning the unofficial city logo, and there were the rape trial, the shootings and drug problems. And, I don’t think this was the right time to make changes in city leadership,” continued Davison.

“I have already been approached by numerous people urging me to stay here. It was encouraging to hear people tell me to not leave the area because I was their hope. A number of people told me they felt hurt by the recent actions. I have told them I was trying to do the best for the community,” remarked Davison.

“I encourage city leaders and the community to capitalize on the fact Franciscan University is here in Steubenville. That university, as well as Eastern Gateway Community College, is the future of our city. The city and county should focus on the university and how they can work together to promote the university. If they don’t, it will be unfortunate,” stated Davison.

“The city needs to welcome the university students and their parents in a positive manner. Part of that means controlling crime in the city. And if it means citizens should attend City Council meetings every Tuesday night, they should be there. We have to clean up crime, the drug problems and violence in our community,” according to Davison.

“I wish everyone well and look forward to seeing area residents. I will now be wearing my mom and wife hat. I have always enjoyed talking to people in the community, and I will continue doing that whenever I get that chance,” Davison said.

Davison arrived in Steubenville in January 2010 for an interview and was offered the city manager’s job by a council that expressed enthusiasm about the first woman to lead the city.

Thirty-eight months later, she is seeking a new job and said she is open to all opportunities.

“But this is our home now, and we plan to stay in the area,” she said.