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Washington County administrator: County will hire new economic development director

May 02, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Washington County will eventually hire a new economic development director, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray confirmed Wednesday.

In an interview after speaking at a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce “Eggs and Issues” breakfast, Murray and Hal Lucas, chairman of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission,  answered questions about the timeline for hiring a new director and qualities they would like to see.

Former EDC Executive Director Timothy R. Troxell was dismissed from the position on April 18. Murray said at the time that the position would not be filled immediately, and the county would look at restructuring the EDC office.

The restructuring may include designating a team to focus on working with small businesses and one to recruit new businesses, but there will still be a need for a director, Murray said Wednesday.

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“It needs to be a very positive, well-focused, experienced, knowledgeable individual that can continue to drive those initiatives and the expanded goals we have that we’re trying to accomplish,” Murray said.

Lucas said the director should be in place before an upcoming Economic Development Strategic Plan is complete, so the director can be involved as the plan comes together.

That completed plan is to be due by November, he said.

“The right person is going to help that process because they’re knowledgeable, they understand EDC, they already — probably, if you’re hiring the right person — (will) have targets in mind ...,” Lucas said. “I mean, that’s what you look for sometimes; who can bring the business already.”

Murray and Lucas also offered their own takes on the divisive atmosphere some have said has pervaded the EDC over the past year.

“People are passionate about this county, they are passionate about wanting this county to be successful, and when you have passionate people, they aren’t always going to get along,” Lucas said.

However, he said everyone on the EDC has the same ultimate goal: “They all want good things for the county.”

Murray said opposing views lead to healthy discussion and analysis.

“If you just had everyone that said, no matter what, ‘Well here’s an idea. Yep, let’s do that,’ ... that could be much more limiting in the type of things you discuss, and how you view it, and I hate to say it this way, but (through debate) you ensure that you can defend your position, and that you have good facts and good data, and no one can come back and derail it.”

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