Nash searches for economic recruiter


Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

NASHVILLE — The search for a future business and industrial recruiter for Nash County is starting to come into focus.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners met in closed session for nearly an hour on Monday, citing the need to discuss confidential personnel matters. After returning to open session, board Chairman Robbie Davis gave an update about the economic development director position.

“We have received approximately 60 applicants at this point in time,” Davis said.

Davis said a committee comprised of board Vice Chairman Wayne Outlaw, Commissioner Fred Belfield and himself is going to do a preliminary review of the applicants, as the county staff reduces the number.

“The staff is going to get it down to approximately 10,” Davis said.

He said the next step is the committee is going to review the 10 via Internet-powered video conferencing with a set list of questions.

“And then when the committee gets it to three, the full board will be interviewing the three final candidates for that position,” he said.

The Telegram asked Davis about an anticipated time the county would like to have the position filled.

Davis expressed a preference to have the position filled by Oct. 1, but he emphasized that is not a deadline.

“It’s more important that we find the correct person for this job than it is to have a deadline,” Davis said.

The county board is looking for an economic development director because the board, in a 5-2 vote in April, withdrew the county from the Rocky Mount-based Carolinas Gateway Partnership, effective at the start of October.

A who’s who of business leaders tried and failed to change the board members’ minds prior to the vote. One supporter of the withdrawal, Commissioner Sue Leggett, at the time said her constituents told her they believe Nash County will be more focused, flexible and competitive without the partnership when it comes to economic development.

The partnership was formed in 1995 to seek to make the area more attractive to business and industrial investors.

An advertisement on Nash County’s website for the economic development director position lists the salary range as between slightly more than $85,500 to nearly $136,900 annually.

The advertisement states the applicant must reside in Nash County or be willing to relocate to the county within six months of employment.

Additionally, the county board, while in closed session on Monday, discussed a memorandum of terms regarding the county’s withdrawal from the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

The terms, as approved in open session, include the following:

The Nash County-designated public directors of the partnership are going to continue to serve on Gateway’s board of directors and executive committee to Sept. 30 before resigning.

All Nash County economic development projects currently being worked and any new Nash County economic development projects coming in prior to Oct. 1 are going to be worked and promoted in the normal course of business by the partnership.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership President and CEO Norris Tolson and Krista Ikirt, who is a vice president of the partnership, are going to continue to provide monthly reports on the status of pending Nash County economic development projects at the county board meetings.

Ikirt is going to provide more frequent interim reports on the status of pending Nash County economic development projects to the county business development director or such other representative of the county designated by the county manager.

After the start of October, Nash County and the partnership are going to cooperate and collaborate by encouraging and promoting the success of the other for the benefit of the entire county and Nash and Edgecombe counties.

Nash County and the partnership, for their mutual benefit, are going to seek to minimize and avoid confusion as to areas of focus in dealings with the state Commerce Department, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and other governmental and economic development agencies.

Also, the county has agreed to permit the partnership to remain in the Gateway office on a rent-free basis through Dec. 31, subject to payment of normal building operating expenses the partnership has paid in the past.

The Gateway office is in the 400 block of Falls Road near downtown Rocky Mount.