City-Parish President Joey Durel has tapped journalist-turned-lawyer Kevin Blanchard to service as Lafayette Consolidated Government’s first chief development officer. The newly created position, which pays about $86,000, according to Blanchard, was approved by the City-Parish Council this summer.

Blanchard is responsible for coordinating planning and development efforts across city-parish government.

“This new position will formalize a ‘one-stop shop’ process that will bring all the various departments to the table when new developments are proposed. In an era where cities are competing with one another for economic development opportunities, it is critical for the development process to be predictable and easy to navigate. Kevin will be responsible for leading the government’s effort to solidify Lafayette’s reputation as a great place to start and grow a business,” Durel said in announcing the hire. Blanchard will report directly to Durel and serve as the liaison between the development community and the LCG staff.

Blanchard, who has practiced commercial and oil and gas law at Onebane Law Firm since September 2011, will continue to serve as the chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee. As CDO, he will also lead efforts to implement the comprehensive plan and to streamline the development process toward a “one stop shop” model.

“Over the last 18 months, Kevin has been helping lead the comprehensive planning effort, and he’s made a positive impression on the community,” Durel said in the announcement. “His passion for the issues, as well as his understanding of the workings of business, government, and the law make him an ideal choice to take over this new responsibility.”

Before studying law, Blanchard was a reporter for the Acadiana Bureau of The Advocate, covering government, politics and business for nearly a decade.

Blanchard is also a member of the board of directors for the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, a board member for the Lafayette Young Lawyers Association and was recently named to the Top 20 Under 40 by the Daily Advertiser and the705.

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