Finding a new president of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce is taking longer than expected — and may cost more too.
And while the board of directors did approve the search committee’s request last Friday for up to $20,000 in expenses — including hiring Spherion Staffing Services, Gainesville, to lead the search — very few directors voiced an “aye” vote, although there were no “nay” votes.
Kathy Wilbanks of the search committee explained that the group’s hope of having three names to submit to the board this month did not come to fruition.
“We have sort of exhausted our means of recruiting, so it is the consensus of the committee that we engage a search firm,” she said.
The proposal calls for up to $20,000, that Wilbanks said, would cover the search fee, travel and lodging expenses for any applicants brought in, and relocation expenses when a new president is hired.
“We don’t expect it will go that high,” she said, adding that the timeline is to have someone in place by the end of the first quarter.
Chairman Keith Johnson repeatedly insisted that the total cost will likely be a lot less than $20,000, but some board members were skeptical.
Newly elected board member Charles Schrauth, of BSI Search and Consultants — a headhunter by profession — also suggested that the $20,000 figure would not adequately cover both the search and the relocation costs.
Schrauth and Steve Perry each questioned why it was necessary to have three finalists — and whether any of the three candidates the committee interviewed met the search criteria.
“What happened to the three?” Perry asked.
“Basically the interviews,” Johnson responded. “After interviewing the three, we didn’t feel we had the candidates we could choose from.”
“Did you have one?” Perry, who manages Beef O’Brady’s in Jefferson, asked.
“You only need one,” Schrauth added.
“We haven’t found one person who meets everything in our profile, and we want to have more people to choose from,” replied Johnson, who chaired the committee (later in the meeting he announced that incoming chairman Mark Valentine would assume the chairmanship of the search committee).
Board member Martha Martin voiced the opinion that the chamber budget should include extra compensation for staff members who have been working extra to compensate for the lack of a president since Shane Short resigned.
“I just feel like something needs to go there for all the extra hours,” she said.