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Board working to fill position funded by ETSU

The Unicoi County Economic Development Board is in the process of hiring a countywide director of community outreach and economic development, a position created through temporary funding from East Tennessee State University.
In July, ETSU’s department of community outreach and economic development presented the offer and the board accepted. Since then, the hiring process has begun, EDB Secretary Larry Rea said after the meeting held Thursday.
A list of candidates was sorted through and a panel of interviews were set up recently, Rea said. “We would like to get them started around mid-October,” Rea said. “Our original target was the first of October, but that’s not reasonable now.”
The offer from ETSU will provide an extra employee at no cost to the board for three years. “The position is going to be an ETSU position,” said Rea.
Details surrounding the position’s job description were discussed in more detail, Rea said. “They have a technical job description,” Rea said. “What we want is a project list, you might say, of things that we want them to do.”
ETSU staff members involved in the hiring process, said Rea, are giving him the impression that they want the individual to have a clear set of projects to begin at once.
“We want to give them a couple of really important ones to begin in,” Rea said. “We know what we need, what we don’t have and what we have and those kinds of things. We went through and created a long list and we’ll have to sort through this and see what works.”
One of the most important projects, which the board has mentioned previously many times, Rea said, is preparing an inventory database of available land and buildings.
The database should include details about zoning, infrastructure and location, Rea said. “So, we can put that on the web for marketing and advertising purposes,” Rea said.
He also spoke with the First Tennessee Development District about the use of GIS equipment that will work along with the database for easy web browsing businesses or industries. The employee to be hired in coming weeks will serve as the backbone to this project, Rea said.
“A lot of time you’ll have something called a request for proposal (RFP) and that’s another piece of this puzzle,” Rea said. “We don’t have time with the way we are structured right now with everybody having full-time and then some jobs.”
Rea said the efficiency of sending an RFP is projected to increase with the addition of the ETSU-funded employee.
“We don’t have that quick response time,” Rea said. “So, we’re going to develop hopefully an RFP response with all the data one might need on properties that are here and so forth.”

By Kayla Carter
Staff Writer
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