CONYERS — The Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council is renewing its search for a new executive director after the Development Authority of Rockdale County indicated it may contribute funds that could increase the salary package for that position.
Conyers Mayor Randy Mills, who serves as chairman of the CREDC, said that the Development Authority met last week and discussed the possibility of contributing money to increase the salary package of a new executive director beyond the currently advertised salary of $60,000 to $80,000.
Currently, the CREDC is funded jointly by the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners and the city of Conyers. The mission of the CREDC is to retain and expand existing industry and to recruit new businesses. Mills said that retail sales are very important to Conyers and Rockdale County right now and it’s critical to expand the commercial base of the community.
Several members of the Development Authority also serve as members of the CREDC board of directors, including Development Authority Chairman Mike Sullivan.
The Development Authority is a volunteer board of Rockdale County residents who work with industries that wish to locate or expand their businesses in Rockdale County by issuing industrial development bonds. The Authority derives most of its income through fees associated with those bonds and through the sale of Authority-owned properties.
“Mike Sullivan, chairman of the Development Authority, went to his board last Tuesday and asked if they could add to the budget of the Economic Development Council,” Mills said. “Those board members said they would consider that if the Economic Development Council would present them with a formal proposal.”
Mills said the CREDC board plans to meet Monday and he expects a proposal will be voted on that can then be sent to the Development Authority for its approval.
Should the Development Authority approve the proposal and formally contribute to the salary of the CREDC executive director, the CREDC must re-advertise for the position. Mills said he expects the entire process to be completed in about 30 days.
The CREDC has been searching for a new executive director since Glenn Sears retired from the position at the end of 2012. Sears served as director of the CREDC since 2007 and is credited with putting the organization on a strong competitive footing.
The position had been advertised for 45 days in economic development magazines and websites and a field of 15 candidates was narrowed to five by July. After one dropped out, the selection committee interviewed four candidates and selected one.
“Following the interview process and before any action was taken to formally vote on the recommended candidate by the appropriate governmental agencies and the CREDC, the steering committee collectively decided to take another look at the salary package with enhancing it through other revenue sources; consequently, dramatically changing the stated advertised salary for the job,” Mills stated in an email sent Thursday to CREDC members, as well as BOC and City Council members and others.
Mills said that even though CREDC’s legal counsel advised that the position should be advertised again due to the increase in the salary package, the people who have already been interviewed for the job would still be considered.
“For legal and ethical reasons, we need to basically start the process over again because once you change the advertised offer you can’t arbitrarily increase it. We have to put it back on the street,” he said. “I think our original pool was good and they were all excellent candidates.”