EDA report holds no surprises

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 29, 2001

No surprises appeared in the report by consultant John Lovorn to city, county and economic development officials on Thursday.

Disclosing results of recent interviews made with Adams County supervisors, Natchez aldermen and members of the Natchez Adams Economic and Community Development Authority, Lovorn presented a profile of the kind of leadership and results interviewees expect from a new director of the EDA.

Experience in the field, people and political skills, positive attitude and integrity were among abilities and personality traits the group seeks in a new director.

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The new director should have an early success in creating new jobs, expertise in creating an industrial park, know-how in providing vision for the community and in creating the right climate for economic growth, respondents said.

&uot;And you made clear that it’s O.K. for the new director to be aggressive but not in an obnoxious way,&uot; said Lovorn of The Pace Group in Tupelo as he outlined the compilation of expectations.

Thursday’s public meeting to discuss the hiring of a new EDA director was a first for Lovorn, he said. He has conducted 150 similar searches but without opportunity for the public to follow the process.

&uot;The (EDA) board wanted to be sure everyone is aware of this process,&uot; he said.

Lovorn emphasized that his company does not select the candidate, only narrow the number and recommend them for interviews.

&uot;We have contacted 19 so far and have interviewed two face to face. By July 18, we will present the board with a booklet with five candidates who will be interviewed on July 20.&uot;

Those five, he said, will be not only highly qualified for the position but also excited about living in Natchez and Adams County. &uot;We don’t want a naysayer in there.&uot;

Woody Allen, EDA chairman, said he and the other four members of the new board are in a learning process and trying to prepare for the new director by becoming well organized.

At the regular meeting Tuesday, the board’s second meeting, members Charles Yarbrough and James West agreed to serve as a committee to recommend change to the EDA bylaws, particularly to reflect the much smaller size of the boards.

Other committees were Allen and West, industry retention; Jack Dallas and Allen, budget; Yarbrough and Leon Crawford, industrial property; Allen and West, regional and state liaisons; Yarbrough, Natchez Adams Chamber of Commerce liaison; all members, industry recruitment.

&uot;So this is our 90-day plan,&uot; West said. Others agreed.

Allen said the board has much work to do and things to learn. &uot;The next 60 to 90 days will be an organizational time, a regrouping. This all goes toward getting this office in line for a new executive director.&uot;

Supervisors and aldermen at the Thursday meeting were generous with their praise of the search mechanism.

Supervisor Virginia Salmon said she looked forward to the results of the process.

Alderwoman Sue Stedman said she was pleased with how quickly the search is taking place.

Alderman Jake Middleton gave Allen credit for leadership. &uot;I’m excited about it. Woody is going to do a good job; we don’t have to worry about it.&uot;

If the EDA board narrows the choice of director to one after the interviews on July 20, a final interview with the candidate will be conducted with city and county elected officials.

&uot;That’s in the law that governs this board,&uot; Allen said. &uot;So that’s how we’ll do it.&uot;