Consultant offers EDA study today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2001

A consultant hired by the Natchez- Adams County Economic and Community Development Authority will disclose today the results of the first phase of a search for a new EDA executive director.

At 1 p.m. in the City Council Chamber building on South Pearl Street, John Lovorn with The Pace Group of Tupelo will present a compilation of ideas he gathered during recent interviews with city, county and EDA officials during the past two weeks.

Woody Allen, EDA board chairman, said no one has seen the results of the survey but that the interviews reflected some unity among those who met with Lovorn for the 30-minute, one-on-one sessions.

Darryl Grennell, District 4 supervisor, said the interview process was impressive. &uot;I’m truly impressed with this guy. I believe he knows what we need in Adams County,&uot; Grennell told EDA board members at their regular meeting on Tuesday.

Lovorn will receive $27,000 for the three-phase search. The first $9,000 is for the local interviewing and reporting. The second phase will end with the compilation of a booklet featuring proposed candidates Lovorn has selected for interviews from a nationwide pool. The third $9,000 will be paid after the chosen candidate has been hired.

Allen said the EDA board decided to hire the consultant to give city and county officials – and a few selected non-official people – an opportunity to have input into important decision that will be made soon.

&uot;We personally wanted their input. We wanted to build a team concept,&uot; Allen said. &uot;The primary focus of the EDA today is finding the right director.&uot;

Questions asked during the 30-minute one-on-one interviews conducted by Lovorn gave each person a chance to comment on such matters as what qualifications a director should have.

What job experience, what characteristics and personality traits, what educational level – and in what general area of study – and what age range the EDA director candidate should have were among the interview topics.

Other questions were about goals and objectives of the EDA and what a new director would have to accomplish in order to be seen as successful, Allen said.

Lovorn, who has conducted about 150 successful searches for economic development directors in other cities, guarantees his work, Allen said. &uot;We have a one-year guarantee. He will come back and do the entire search again for free if the director we select doesn’t work out before the end of the first year.&uot;

EDA board member James West said the consultant’s work puts the EDA on track. &uot;After Thursday, we’ll have a consensus. We’ll know where we’re headed.&uot;

In other business, the board:

— Did some housekeeping to bring committees up to date, including a committee to revise the bylaws to reflect the change in the size of the board to five members from a much larger former board.

— Decided to make the day and time for EDA board meetings the fourth Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m.

— Approved a request from Mississippi Technology Alliance to hold a technology town hall meeting in early August to let business and other leaders know what help is available from the state alliance.

— Heard from Walter Tipton, executive director of the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau that the convention center under construction is on schedule and will be completed by February with the first convention booked in April.

— Tipton also reported that the Natchez Community Center is into its second year and is in demand. &uot;The center is booked every weekend until the end of the year,&uot; he said.