Economic development director search ongoing

Sixty resumes have made their way to Craig, all from people hoping to serve as the town's next economic development director and more applications are expected to trickle in before the April 30 deadline.

"They're coming in a little slower now," said City Manager Jim Ferree.

The position has been vacant since January, when Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership Director Wally Ralston resigned after the board of directors cast a tie vote on a motion to terminate him.

The reasons are not public record but board members have said they won't make the same mistake twice. Ralston was the only candidate the board interviewed in person.

This time, they're considering inviting several candidates, hoping to get the best fit for the community.

The best response by far has been through an ad placed on Monster.com, but the Partnership has advertised on the state's economic development page and locally.

Though one local resident picked up a copy of the job description, none have applied for the position, Ferree said. There are several applicants from Colorado.

He's divided the applications among board members to rank the resumes and expects to have a short list of candidates by the deadline.

What to do from there is still a question.

"I don't know if (the board) has exactly narrowed down the process," Ferree said. "They'd like to do face-to-face interviews if they can get the number of candidates down to a reasonable number."

He's suggested the board consider a several-tiered process that includes an interview by community members, but the process has not been discussed at length.

Ferree sits on the EDP board in an unofficial capacity, but that could change as the group's bylaws change -- and that has been discussed at length.

During the same meeting that ended with Ralston's resignation, there was some confusion over which board members were allowed a vote. Board members said at that time that the bylaws were unclear. Further inspection found that voting privileges were spelled out in the bylaws, just not clearly. It was discovered that two members who weren't given a vote on the issue should have had a vote. Both have said they would have voted to terminate Ralston, which, at the time, would have broken the tie vote.

The EDP board is now considering several proposed changes to the bylaws, most of which are just "tweaking," according to board member and Craig City Council member Bill Johnston.

"We're moving forward," he said. "The EDP looks to be heading in a positive direction."

One addition reads "ex-officio members shall enjoy full voting rights and privileges as all other directors, per Robert's Rules of Order."

The bylaws require the board have two ex-officio members, one from the city of Craig and another from Moffat County. Both are the Partnership's largest contributors at $25,000 a year.

Another proposed change allows the board to appoint up to four additional non-voting directors at its discretion. That portion was added after board members saw a need to have specific representation on the board -- the Chamber of Commerce and community college for example. Board Chairman Les Hampton, when proposing the addition also suggested that Ferree retain a non-voting seat.

Hampton was one member denied a vote because of his ex-officio status and because of his position as board chairman. The bylaws have now been modified to ensure the chairman has a vote, per Robert's Rules of Order.

Remaining in effect is a portion that gives each member of the Partnership one vote for each $250 contributed but a limit of 20 votes per member has been imposed. Those members elect a board of directors from among them at the Partnership's annual meeting, the first of which is scheduled in May.

The bylaws also will be adopted formally at that time, something which has not yet been done in the Partnership's nearly two-year existence.

The EDP board is focused on filling the position as director. According to Ferree, there have been no messages left on the EDP's answering machine following up on deals Ralston said he was working on before he left.

Ralston left a list of ongoing projects with the Craig Daily Press, but no board member was given a copy.

According to Ralston's list, he was in the midst of nine projects when he left, including a survey of local businesses, a potential manufacturing company and a hot springs feasibility study.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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