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Howard named EDC chief in North Carolina county

July 30, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

John Howard, the former director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, has been hired as the executive director of the Caldwell County, (N.C.) Economic Development Commission.

Howard, 64, said Tuesday that he begins the new job on Aug. 11 with an annual salary of $77,500. He will move to North Carolina in mid- to late August, he said.

He currently is working as a consultant for a local tax firm, he said.

Howard went on paid administrative leave in Washington County in March 2002 and left his job May 8. The county announced his retirement, after five years on the job, on June 11. Howard's annual salary was $82,067.

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Howard said he previously worked at two jobs in North Carolina and he and his wife, Patricia, planned to retire there.

When he saw the job opening for Caldwell County, which has a population of 77,000, he jumped at the opportunity to move there, he said.

The region where he will work has a significant unemployment rate - about 10.5 percent - and he said he looks forward to trying to bring more jobs to the area.

Howard said he enjoyed working in Washington County and will miss his friends, church associates and neighbors here.

Last fall Washington County Commissioner William J. Wivell sued the Washington County Commissioners, including himself, asking that the county's retirement agreement with Howard be released publicly.

John C. Munson, then a candidate for a seat on the County Commission, sued over the same matter. Munson is now a commissioner.

While those suits did not succeed in obtaining the release of the information, a third by former Clear Spring resident Thomas Firey resulted in Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley ordering the county to release retirement payment information to Firey.

Howard was given a $31,000 severance package when he retired, according to the county documents.

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