Carroll County's new head of the economic development office will bear the title of director, the county commissioners said yesterday, and that the person to be hired for that position will report directly to them.
The decision comes more than a week after William E. Jenne, county economic development office administrator, announced that he would resign to become a commercial banking officer for Taneytown Bank and Trust.
Carroll County has not had a full-time economic development director since James C. Threatte resigned in July 1992. At that time, the commissioners made Mr. Jenne the administrator and assigned Mr. Threatte's duties to Robert A. "Max" Bair Jr., their executive assistant.
"I have always felt we should have a full-time director," said Commissioner Julia W. Gouge. "I think it will be a positive move for the county. Businesses will feel better about it, too."
Mrs. Gouge said the commissioners expect to bring the former economic development director job description up to current standards by next week.
The commissioners have not discussed a salary range, which may need to be updated, she said.
"I would say it would probably be on the lower end of the salary range Jim Threatte applied under," said Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy. "We will begin the search immediately, inside and out, for a suitable person."
Jimmie L. Saylor, county director of human resources, said the position probably will be advertised in local newspapers, trade publications, the Maryland Association of Counties newsletter and at various colleges.
Similar positions are usually left open for about three weeks, she said.
"Once the ad runs, we set a deadline on getting applications and resumes," Ms. Saylor said. "It just needs to be a reasonable amount of time to let people get their resumes in."
At present, the county commissioners expect to keep office staffing at four, Mr. Lippy said.
"We will no longer fill Bill Jenne's position," he said. "We will fill it as director."
Local business leaders said they were pleased with the commissioners' decision.
"I say hallelujah," said Paul D. Denton, chairman of the county Economic Development Commission. "The position needs the attention and devotion of someone with director status to be truly effective."
Helen Utz, executive director for Carroll County's Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
"Economic development is so important to Carroll County because of its direct benefits to all other aspects of life," she said. "It needs a full-time director and adequate staff to pursue projects aggressively."
However, Mr. Denton said he was disappointed that Mr. Jenne had not been appointed.
"It's a shame Bill wasn't made director," Mr. Denton said. "I think he was very capable."
Mr. Jenne didn't know of the commissioners' decision until told by a reporter. He declined to comment.
"The reason we're making that move certainly isn't due the fact that we'd never consider Bill Jenne," Mr. Lippy said. "He was certainly a prime candidate. It's more the fact that Max has a full platter, by his own admission.
"With more of these really sensitive and time-consuming prospects . . . he can't do it by himself."
Mr. Lippy said that applications have been received and that he already has some people in mind for the director's position.
"Everybody will be considered," he said. "Maybe for a tiebreaker with absolutely equal candidates, we'll give a few points in preference to the Carroll County variety. But qualification is the key thing."
Outstanding qualifications are also more important to the business community than where the person is from, Mr. Denton said.
"The worst thing that can be done is shoot from the hip and hire someone just for the sake of hiring someone," he said. "There needs to be a very thorough search with all due diligence.
"You want the best economic development director you can get."