06/27/08 — Duplin EDC will get new leader soon

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Duplin EDC will get new leader soon

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 27, 2008 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County Manager Mike Aldridge next month is expected to begin interviewing applicants for the job of leading the county's new economic development organization.

Aldridge said he had hoped to be further along in the application process, but had been delayed by efforts to get the county's new budget in place.

The interviews are scheduled to begin July 16. There are four confirmed applicants and possibly two more, he said.

Some are local, while others are from out of state.

Aldridge said that he hopes to have a top candidate and an alternate "in mind" as soon as the interviews are completed. He said it would take at least 30 days from that time to get someone in the office.

The salary will be about $50,000.

Commissioners have ex-pressed a willingness to conduct some salary negotiations because of concerns that more pay will be required to hire a new director.

Duplin commissioners on June 16 approved a budget of $238,669 and the articles of incorporation for the creation of two new non-profit economic development organizations similar to the Wayne County Development Alliance (WCDA).

Aldridge said Duplin officials had spoken with WCDA officials about their organization and had modeled the Duplin organization after the WCDA.

"It has been a long and arduous process trying to get through it all," he said. "Even being modeled on Wayne County, we are still starting from scratch."

The Foundation for Duplin County Industrial and Business Development Corp., Inc. will be the fundraising arm, while the Duplin County Industrial and Business Development Corp., Inc. will be charged with promoting economic development in the county.

Aldridge, Wallace Mayor Charles Farrior Jr. and businessman John Williams of Kenansville make up the initial boards of directors for both organizations as agreed to by county commissioners.

Aldridge said the incorporation paperwork has yet to be sent to the state since all of the necessary signatures have not been secured.

Once submitted it should take less than 30 days to receive approval, he said.

The organization's offices will continue to be located at the Duplin County Airport.

"The idea was for the fundraising entity to engage the business community to raise support (funding) for economic development goals and plans with the operational arm to use that to carry out the day-to-day operations," Aldridge said.

He added, "The idea was to have an entity able to move with flexibility by spending private money and not have to deal with the issues involved when spending public money."

It has been more than three years since the county has had an economic development commission. In an attempt to reign in control over the director's position, the county turned the organization into an advisory board.

The county has been without a development director since the first of the year when Woody Brinson retired.

"It is a new name, a new direction, and we are trying to come out of the gate with new plans to present to the community," Aldridge said.