Partnership to elect board members

Board members are calling community response to the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership thrilling following a membership drive that garnered 18 new members.

"It's really great to see all the positive response we've gotten," board member Chris Nichols said.

The partnership held its first annual meeting June 25. The goals were to get the Partnership back on track and to recruit members.

The EDP was started as an offshoot of the Craig Chamber of Commerce but evolved into a core group of residents who wanted to diversify and stabilize the local economy. That group funded a target industry analysis, hired a director and broke away from the chamber to become an independent non-profit organization. The director's salary and EDP expenses were paid by the contributions of about 14 members, including the city of Craig

and Moffat County, which each donated $25,000.

In the EDP's early stages, board members were chosen by a steering committee and the board filled vacancies from the short list of businesses that had contributed money to the partnership.

Now, the board is electing new members according to its bylaws -- by soliciting nominations from the membership and allowing members to vote a board into place.

A contribution of $250 or more earns a business or individual a vote in board elections.

The membership drive drove the EDP's number of contributors to 34. Each of the new members pledged the minimum of $250.

"It's fantastic," board member Tonya Griffith said. "In addition, which is really exciting, is the tremendous response from people interested in participating on the board. It's great, we need that participation."

There are nine board positions to fill and 18 candidates for those positions.

The city and county each can appoint a voting board member. At this time, City Councilor Bill Johnston and county Commissioner Les Hampton are appointed to the board.

Ballots were due Friday and the Griffith expects the new board will be announced Wednesday at the EDP's regular board meeting.

"We set deadlines because we needed to get moving on this," she said.

The EDP hit some rocky times in January when its director resigned after a tie vote to terminate him. Misunderstanding of the bylaws created tension when some members were not allowed to vote on the director's termination and a subsequent call for the removal of board chairman Les Hampton.

The board has since revised the bylaws and has started the search for a new director. Adopting the bylaws and the hiring of a new director will be the first tasks the new board will be asked to accomplish.

"We really need to get the ball rolling and get a staff member into the office so we can accomplish our other goals," Nichols said.

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

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