Develop Danville hopes to hire three part-time positions

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Develop Danville’s first vice president left after less than a year on the job, and the economic development organization hasn’t been able to find anyone to replace him — or to alternatively fill a different “economic development specialist” position — since. On Wednesday morning, the Develop Danville board decided to pursue a different strategy during a special called meeting.

The public-private partnership will post job openings for three part-time positions that would be considered contract labor and paid a monthly stipend.

“The idea simply is you’d advertise up to three part-time gigs, 10-15 hours a week. We’ll pay you a stipend of (perhaps) $2,000 a month,” said Ben Nelson chair of the Develop Danville board. “Those three roles would equate to a full-time person.”

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Nelson presented the part-time proposal as a short-term alternative to hiring someone for the existing “vice president/chief operating officer” position or the proposed “economic development specialist” position. Both permanent, full-time positions are recommended by Develop Danville’s strategic economic development plan, though the agency doesn’t have enough funding to hire both.

Develop Danville’s first VP, Hal Goode, began working on Sept. 5, 2017. But in May 2018, he announced he was leaving the position to become the executive director for the Central Kentucky Community Action Council, a non-profit organization serving eight counties to the west of Boyle.

Ben Kleppinger/
Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of Develop Danville, talks about the organization’s unfilled vice president and “economic development specialist” positions.

Develop Danville looked for a replacement, but in August 2018, leaders said the search had “failed” and they were waiting to start a new search.

Danville Mayor Mike Perros, a member of the Executive Committee, said at the time that the pool of candidates for the position was “shallow” and the two people who were offered the job turned it down.

Nelson and Develop Danville Vice Chair Marty Gibson said Wednesday the economic development specialist position, which would be focused on data collection and analysis, has been posted for some time, and there have been no promising candidates for it, either.

Wednesday’s special meeting was called because it’s been a long time without full staffing and “there’s a lot to do in (the strategic plan) and I want to get ‘er done,” Nelson said.

Develop Danville has the VP position budgeted this fiscal year but hasn’t paid any money toward a salary for that position. It has used some of those funds for things like a $10,000 contribution to the advanced manufacturing center project at BCTC and covering an $8,000 overage in the cost of a regional economic development event. But there’s still around $48,000 in budgeted salary that’s unspent, Nelson said. Develop Danville Treasurer Alan Turbyfill

l says the agency could spend $30,000 on new staff through the end of the fiscal year without a problem, Nelson said.

Nelson’s proposal calls for three “part-time contract labor” positions that would have specific focus areas:

• one focused on workforce development;

• one focused on marketing; and

• one focused on community outreach  and education.

The part-time workers would work with Develop Danville’s respective Workforce Development, Marketing and Executive committees, and coordinate their work with President and CEO Jody Lassiter.

Members of the board agreed they liked the proposal, but also wanted to continue searching for full-time job candidates.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt made the motion to post the three part-time jobs, “but I would propose an aggressive search for the economic development specialist immediately,” he said.

Danville Mayor Mike Perros seconded Hunt’s motion and the board voted unanimously in favor. Nelson said a committee of board members will help Lassiter screen candidates and conduct interviews.