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Lebanon liason seeking ECD post
Mar 21, 2005 12:00 am
A formal search has not yet begun to replace Joint Economic & Community Development Board Executive Director Holly Sears, but one well-known Lebanon City government employee has put her hat in the ring.
Lebanon City Liaison Sue Akins Siens made her interest in the position known to the head of the JECDB search committee, Mt. Juliet City Manager Rob Shearer, in a March 10 letter.
A copy of the letter obtained by The Lebanon Democrat finds Siens making a case that expanded funding for the organization may need to come from private sources rather than from local governments. Siens also states the $62,000 salary paid Sears would be more than adequate to secure her own employment with the JECDB.
"It is my opinion that the current level of pay for the Executive Director is reasonable for a county of our size," Siens said in the letter. "I believe longevity of employment in this position would more likely be determined by the person hired, their local ties and their level of commitment to our community than a salary increase."
Shearer believes Siens will be a "strong applicant," but emphasized the search committee hasn't even met yet.
"It's a little early to be reviewing and evaluating applications," he said.
Shearer explained the search committee will review the job description and pay scale, create a timeline and decide about where to advertise and when the deadline will be.
"Then we will evaluate those who have applied," he said.
Watertown Mayor Mike Jennings pointed out Siens is not the only one applying for the job. He said he received an application letter Wednesday even though advertisements have not been published.
"And we haven't even started," he said. "So I'll certainly keep an open mind."
Shearer and Jennings admitted Siens has a good shot at the executive director position, especially with her experience.
Lebanon Mayor Don Fox agreed, stressing Siens has been luring business not only to the city but the county as well.
"The City of Lebanon can't lose if she goes and gets the job or doesn't get the job," he said. "She's more qualified than any name I've heard, but we haven't started our search yet."
Sears, who leaves April 1 to take a similar position in Rutherford County, cited her reasons to leave included a substantial pay increase and larger marketing budget – one that exceeds Wilson County's entire economic development program budget.
Siens noted Rutherford County's economic development budget is derived from private and government sources and suggested enhanced marketing efforts might be a better use of increased JECDB funds.
Siens told The Democrat she decided to write the letter only after being listed as a likely candidate for the job in a local, weekly publication. And she insisted she could be an advocate for all of Wilson County despite working in the Lebanon mayor's office for a decade. Siens presently recruits business and industry to Lebanon.
"It has been interesting, because when I go to all of the various conventions, I promote all of Wilson County," Siens said. "These companies don't just want to look at Lebanon. … I very much have promoted to county as a whole. I think I have a very good understanding of the whole county."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at email@example.com.