EDC will keep finalists' names private

EDC will keep finalists' names private

CHAMPAIGN — A new executive director for the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. is expected to be chosen in March and on the job in April.

But finalists for the job won't be introduced to the community before a selection is made.

Unlike the last time an executive director was hired, many applicants for the job are expected to be "known local candidates," said Lori Gold Patterson, vice chairwoman of the group's board of directors.

"I wouldn't want to put them through scrutiny with their name in the public," board member Laura Frerichs said, anticipating "sensitivity" on the part of local candidates.

Instead, the board will likely rely on a six-person selection committee made up of board members Patterson, Bruce Knight, Mike DeLorenzo, Tom Carrino, Mike Billimack and Betty Brennan to recommend a hire.

As of Wednesday, 10 applications had been received for the position, with Feb. 25 the deadline for submission.

Patterson said the committee plans to review the applications Feb. 26, choose two or three finalists March 4, interview them later that week and recommend a hire either at the March 12 board meeting or at a special meeting.

In 2012, when the board last hired a director, it conducted a national search for an economic development professional.

This time it's advertising for someone with "local community knowledge and experience" and "an understanding of the economic development process and marketing strategies."

The advertisement outlines few educational or experience requirements, other than having a bachelor's degree.

The position has been open since June, when the board terminated its employment contract with Mike Kirchhoff, who had the job for less than a year.

Wednesday was Patterson's second consecutive meeting presiding in the absence of board Chairman Cameron Moore, whose full-time job is executive director of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission.

Contacted after the meeting, Moore said he missed the meetings because he has had to reprioritize his time. He said he is not seeking the executive director position.

Patterson said once an executive director is in place, the board may consider contracting with the Regional Planning Commission for services. But what those services might include has not been determined, she said.

For the second month in a row, Champaign City Council member Will Kyles and Martel Miller attended the monthly board meeting as guests. At the January meeting, they were invited to remain in the room when the board went into closed session to consider personnel issues.

When asked whether he was interested in the executive director position, Kyles, who is also president of the Champaign County Black Chamber of Commerce, said he hadn't thought about it.

He said he has been coming to the meetings "to add perspective, if possible" and to ensure that economic development helps "build all communities" in Champaign County.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on February 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

"to ensure that economic development helps build all communities in Champaign County"?  Gee... does that include all of the communities outside of Champaign-Urbana also?