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Village Vision News

Village opts to eliminate economic development job it was going to create

Thursday, August 15, 2013

For months now, the Board of Trustees and Village Administrator Mike Miller have had discussions about adding a staff member at Village Hall. Much of the back and forth has been whether the person should be a specialist in economic development or tourism or both.

At a board meeting in June, Trustee Bob Rasho suggested that this new hire should be qualified to take over the administrator’s job in the event that it became open suddenly — for example, if Miller decided to retire was one contingency that was put forth.

Rasho said then that he thought the new hire should be part of a “succession plan” whereby the person brought in would also act as Assistant Village Administrator.

In the end, at least for the time being, it was all for naught. The board decided at its meeting on Aug. 5 to terminate plans to add the position.

There were several reasons given for the change of direction, but one important factor seemed to stem from a visit to a previous board meeting by local developer Steve Horve. Recent organizational changes at the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau also prompted the decision.

“I have had a change of heart after Steve Horve said we don’t need this position” Rasho told the board. “I respect him; he has invested millions in this community. That’s my personal opinion.”

Rasho also cited the opinion of fellow trustee Larry Reed, who had stated at that same June meeting that he didn’t see that the hiring of an Economic Development/Tourism Director would necessarily be a person also qualified to handle the duties of village administration.

Rasho said Reed’s opinion had provoked a lot of thought on the subject and had played an important role in changing his mind.

There was immediate agreement from Mayor Marilyn Johnson and Trustee Steve Hubbard about not hiring anyone for the position.

The job was likely to be funded by reinstatement of the hotel/motel tax, which both Johnson and Hubbard made clear they were still in support of despite their not wanting to pursue the new hire.

Miller said he also agreed with the decision not to hire someone for the job right now, especially “with the changes at the DACVB. They are more than capable of handling tourism. I enjoy economic development so I can focus on that.”

Trustee Dave Wendt commended village staff for their time and efforts in putting the job description together, describing the process as “not a waste of time and maybe not a straight line, but we have it (the job description) if we need it later.”

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