Search peaks citizens' interest

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The City of Cassville is currently in the process of hiring an economic development director and recently members of the community have shown a real interest in the process. In an effort to inform our readers and the general citizenry of Cassville, we'll tell you what we know. To date, the city has received 10 applications and interviewed five candidates according to City Administrator Mike Hayslip. He said additional interviews are still scheduled. These interviews are being conducted by Hayslip, Mayor Tracy Holle, city council members, City Clerk Kelly Paul and two representatives of the Cassville Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Hayslip said he has the sole authority to hire the new economic development director but decided to involve the city council in the process because the position was one of "importance in the city's hierarchy." This was a wise choice, and we firmly believe the decision to fill this new city position should be made by a vote of the full council.

We think the city could benefit greatly from this new position and we are pleased the effort represents a partnership between the city and the IDC. After talking with a number of people about the post, we find that the vast majority of those polled believe it is important that the city not hurry to fill the position but wait to hire the right person for the job. This person must be knowledgeable of economic development issues, must have an exciting and viable vision for our city, must possess exceptional people skills and be willing and able to form partnerships with existing interests and those he or she is hoping to bring to our area. It is also crucial that this position be filled by someone able to make a great first impression and then back it up with knowledge and commitment.

City officials should take their time and not rush in and hire just anyone for the job. If the right candidate is not in the first round of applications, we suggest widening the scope of the search. This position is an important one for Cassville's continuing prosperity and growth and it's crucial that the city hire the right person for the job.

We also believe it is essential that the new hire be someone that receives the approval of both city and IDC officials. It's only fair that the IDC play an active role in the search because they are the ones who approached the city about creating the position and some of the money being used by the city to pay for this position was originally secured by the IDC. This hiring process should not become a power struggle but instead should be a melding of great minds who are joined by the singular purpose of doing what's best for our community.

Communities are strongest when city government, local economic development groups and chambers of commerce work together in a true spirit of cooperation toward a shared vision. The process of hiring an economic development director is the perfect opportunity for this type of cooperation to be demonstrated in the City of Seven Valleys. It's also nice to know that the citizens of Cassville care enough about our community's future to ask questions about this important position. We hope this editorial has answered some of those questions, and as we always tell people, don't hestitate to contact your elected officials about the subject if you still have questions or concerns. You have every right to make your opinions known, and democracy always works best when citizens become involved in the process.