Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.


Wanted in Columbia County - A real economic development dir job description

After reviewing the Director - Economic Development job description from Columbia County's County Manager, Dale Williams, I'm appalled.

After watching the economic underdevelopment game in Columbia County for the past  eleven years, I suspect that this job description  is primarily the handy work IDA (EDA) Executive Director, Jim Poole, who has been grossly inadequate in growing economic development in Columbia County for over eighteen years.

On Thursday, March 10, 2011, Mr. Poole gave a half hour radio interview on the Jet, 96.5 on the dial. He stated that 400 jobs have been created within the past 6 years. This is an unacceptable return on investment.

The job description presented by the County Manager is vague and amateurish. It misses important points that must be mandated to avoid an instant replay of the current amateur economic development we have had, fully funded by the working families of Columbia County, for the past 18 years.

These are my minimum recommendations for any individual who wishes to be considered for the job of Columbia County's Director of Economic Development:

  • A minimum of a  Masters Degree in Business (MBA) from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum of five (5) years hands on experience as a Manager or Director of Economic Development with tractable and substantiated ROI (Return On Investment).
  •  Hands on experience in preparing a five year marketing plan and the ability to review and amend such a plan semi-annulally to stay current with changing trends and economy, along with the ability analyze statistics provided by the State or other entities. The candidate must provide samples of Marketing Plans prepared to substantiate experience and proficiency.
  • Hands on experience in preparing a detailed advertising plan and public relations plan, inclusive of what and where advertising is placed, along with a spread sheet of such costs to coincide with the plan. Samples of advertising and or public relations campaigns developed and implemented to substantiate experience and proficiency.
  • The ability to communicate in an articulate manner both written and oral.
  • Provide samples of reports, power points, e mails, professional communications, etc., to substantiate the candidate's computer skills and the ability to prepare such documents using Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Document the ability to update information on the existing web-site in real time.
  • At the barest minimum the successful candidate must be offered a salary equal to the current Executive Director.

If the County Commission does not implement the above specific points into the job Description, Columbia County will end up with more of the same.

Columbia County does not need to repeat the mistakes of the past 18 years and create a job which requires on the job training.

Eighteen years ago there were many qualified applicants for the IDA slot, whose resumes were outstanding and showed high skill levels for the time. The only resume which has been impossible to obtain is that of the current Executive Director, Jim Poole. The reason - I can only suspect that Mr. Poole was the least qualified.

If Columbia County is really serious about economic development, incorporating the above suggestions and then hiring the best that Columbia County's money can buy would be a good way to prove it.

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