02/16/05 — New EDC worker to provide help for existing firms

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New EDC worker to provide help for existing firms

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 16, 2005 2:11 PM

The Wayne County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the hiring of an additional employee for the county Economic Development Commission.

The new employee will work with existing businesses and industries in Wayne County.

The board has not yet agreed on a salary for the position, although the range begins at $33,000 and tops out at $52,000.

County Manager Lee Smith said the recommended salary would depend on the person's experience.

Helping existing businesses emerged as a top priority for the commission, both this year and last year, and the commissioners budgeted for a new person in the EDC office to do the job. But when the EDC prepared to hire someone last year, one of the county commissioners balked and nothing was done. That member, Arnold Flowers, has since retired from the board.

The issue came up again earlier this month, during the Economic Development Commission's annual retreat.

Joanna Thompson, the EDC president, said that existing industries in Wayne County provided more than 200 manufacturing jobs and $17 million in investments in 2004.

"Even with 40 jobs lost at Boling Furniture, we still had a net gain of 216 manufacturing jobs this year through expansion of existing industries," she said. Boling Furniture has since reopened under a new owner and some of those jobs are being restored.

Whoever is hired for the new position will be an "existing business and industry coordinator," and will be expected to establish a strong rapport with top-level management of businesses in the county.

The job description calls for the person to administer all aspects of the existing business and industry program, maintain an informational database for the program, and personally visit all corporate and division headquarters, manufacturing plants and distribution centers in the county.

The commissioners also agreed to a $1,800 raise for the administrative assistant position.

In addition, the county is working with a consulting firm to develop a scorecard for the commission.

"This will establish realistic objectives for the EDC," said Smith.