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Jefferson authority chief to retire

February 11, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Special to The Herald-Mail

CHARLES TOWN. W.Va. -- A glance at Jane K. Peters' office shows something is definitely going on in there.

Strewn papers cover her desk, as well as every table and every other flat surface. The walls are bare of pictures, plaques and awards.

Peters, 54, is retiring as executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, which she has run since 1982.

She said Tuesday that she has agreed to stay on while the authority's board of directors sets up a search committee to find her successor, an effort that could take several months.

The salary range for the new director will be $65,000 to $75,000, Peters said.

During her 27 years at the helm, Peters has overseen portions of the Bardane Industrial Park and the contiguous Burr Business Park. The two facilities cover a footprint of 450 acres off W.Va. 9. Together, they are home to 56 companies and government agencies.

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She also worked with numerous other ventures across Jefferson County.

By her own "conservative" estimates, the authority, as of the end of 2007, brought in more than $420 million in new industrial, business and retail development.

Peters said Tuesday that a quick, albeit incomplete, analysis of the property taxes generated by authority activities shows about $6.5 million a year poured into county coffers. That will increase by another $1.5 million once all of Burr Business Park is built out, she said.

William Chesney, past president of the authority's 16-member board of directors, said in a recent press release that Peters' professionalism and dedication to her job brought improvements to the community "under often challenging and always competitive circumstances. I speak for all board members in saying that it has been a real pleasure to work with her."

Accolades accorded to Peters over the years include her certification as an economic developer by the International Economic Development Council and her service as president of the West Virginia Economic Development Council. She was named state developer of the year in 1993 and named to Who's Who of American Women. She has also served on many area boards an agencies.

When she took over the county's economic development job April 2, 1982, the agency had one employee. Today, it has three full-time and one contract employee.

Peters said she has no immediate retirement plans other than "to take the summer off. At some point, I will find something else."

She said she decided to retire early because she is old enough to take advantage of the state retirement plan.

Peters, from Charleston, W.Va., was single when she came to Jefferson County. Then she met and married her husband, Jerry, who is now retired. The couple has two children, Kathleen, 22, and Stephen, 19.

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