Industrial recruiter search continues

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A special search committee has interviewed at least one applicant who wants to be Lewisburg's industrial developer and at least two other applicants on the panel's short list have withdrawn.

Lewisburg Stormwater Director Greg Lowe, who's also the city's codes enforcement officer, was interviewed Oct. 19. Lowe was questioned by people he's known for years, and he had the keys to lock City Hall after the panel concluded its business that day.

The applicants who withdrew are:

* Dennis Jarvis II of Smithers, W.Va. He's been working in a job funded by a grant that ends at the end of 2010. Jarvis has found another job, according to discussion among review committee members; and,

* Dean Barber of Fort Wayne, Ind. He is working with developers in North Alabama and he's a former business editor of the Birmingham News.

Barber declined to continue to be a candidate after learning the salary range is $35,000 to $70,000. The immediate past industrial development director here was paid $66,000 annually.

"He said he made more than that 20 years ago," Mike Wiles, the executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, told the committee reviewing applications. Wiles is the chairman of the review committee.

The interview team also includes: Eddie Wiles, chairman of the city's Industrial Development Board; the city's Community Development Committee chairman, Edmund Roberts who's also chairman of the JECDB; Gary Davis, a member of the city's Planning Commission; and Mayor Barbara Woods.

Interview times were established late last week and it was clear on Monday evening interviews could be held Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

The other applicant on the review committee's short list of four men is B. Shane Burris of Lake City, Tenn., who was the industrial development director for Monroe County for 18 years until he was released after an election.

One requirement for applicants is an essay and one applicant had not submitted it as of Oct. 20, more than a week after it was due. Woods suggested one more reminder to the applicant.

Roberts has expressed a preference that questions for the applicants remain confidential so as to avoid giving one applicant an advantage over another.

Requirements for and the nature of the job make the topics of some of the questions obvious since computer skills, a writing ability, public speaking, personal contacts and a knowledge of Tennessee's economic and community development services are a daily part of the job.

Knowledge of the county's workforce and institutions here were also topics discussed.

Discussion among the committee members and three city councilmen indicates that the panel might reach a decision today or Thursday.