Gus Comstock, economic development director for the city of Delaware, has turned down an offer to take the same job with Delaware County, disappointing the county commissioners who wanted to hire him.

Gus Comstock, economic development director for the city of Delaware, has turned down an offer to take the same job with Delaware County, disappointing the county commissioners who wanted to hire him.

The vote to hire Comstock came at the commissioners' March 26 meeting. They learned later that day Comstock wouldn't take the job.

The county offered Comstock $87,000 a year. On his application for the county position, he asked for a salary of $92,000. His base salary as Delaware's development director is $84,000 a year.

Comstock was out of town but sent a comment to the media through the city's spokesman Lee Yoakum.

"I want to thank the commissioners for considering me to serve as county economic development director," Comstock wrote. "This was a great honor, and I felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist the county. However, it has become apparent during this process that this position will not work for me and I must withdraw my name from consideration. As the city and county move forward on economic development initiatives, there will be many opportunities where I can and will work to assure mutual success."

The commissioners expressed disappointment that Comstock rejected their offer.

"Yes, I am disappointed," said commission president Tommy Thompson. "Going with Gus was the right way to go."

"In all my years of government I have never been more disappointed in the outcome of a situation," commissioner Todd Hanks said. "He is exactly what we were looking for, in my opinion."

Commission vice president Ken O'Brien also expressed disappointment but said he could not agree to go any higher than $87,000 when the county is looking at ways to cut its budget.

"It would not be fair to our employees to offer a richer salary (to Comstock)," he said.

The commissioners probably will discuss what their next steps will be at Monday's 10 a.m. commission meeting, Thompson said. By law, the commissioners cannot discuss a county-related issue outside of a public meeting

Speaking for himself, O'Brien said, "I think that we would review the remaining candidates and then decide whether we need to reopen the field again and take more applications."

The other finalists were David Claborn, vice president of marketing and communications for The Missouri Partnership in St. Louis; James Bischof, executive director of the Fostoria Economic Development Corp. in Fostoria; and Donald Kaszynski, a self-employed consultant in economic and business development and former vice president of economic development for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.