Commissioners hire development director

September 07, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Amy L. Miller contributed to this article.

Carroll County commissioners announced yesterday that they have hired an economic development director, two years after the last full-time director resigned.

The new director was not the commissioners' first choice for the job and not the person an interviewing panel recommended.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to hire John T. "Jack" Lyburn Jr., 47, of Westminster, a vice president at Kline Scott Visco, a Frederick commercial real estate company. He will begin the $47,000 job Sept. 26.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy voted against hiring Mr. Lyburn. He said he favored the applicant recommended by the three-member interviewing panel. The panel was made up of members of the county Industrial Development Authority and Economic Development Commission.

Mr. Lyburn will oversee efforts to attract business to Carroll and encourage businesses to expand. County officials have said they need more businesses to generate tax revenue and to stem the flow of commuters who leave to work in other places.

Since James C. Threatte resigned in July 1992 after three years on the job, no one has had sole responsibility for economic development efforts.

The commissioners did not replace Mr. Threatte, who earned $47,240, to save money. They placed their executive assistant, Robert A. "Max" Bair, in charge of the office and named William E. Jenne, who worked under Mr. Threatte as business development manager, as office administrator.

After Mr. Jenne resigned in May to become a commercial banking officer with Taneytown Bank and Trust Co., the commissioners decided to hire a full-time director who will report directly to them.

An interviewing panel made up of IDA Chairman Arthur H. Peck, EDC Chairman Paul D. Denton and EDC member Michael L. Burden reviewed applications and recommended that 10 candidates be interviewed, Commissioner Donald I. Dell said yesterday. The commissioners and the panel conducted the interviews.

Mr. Lyburn was among the original 10 recommended applicants, but he missed his interview because of a misunderstanding about the date, Mr. Dell said. Mr. Lyburn could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In late July, the commissioners offered the job to their first choice, an unidentified man, who turned them down.

Mr. Dell said he suggested they include Mr. Lyburn in a second round of interviews. After these interviews, the panel favored an unnamed female applicant who works in the Washington area.

Mr. Lippy said he and Commissioner Julia W. Gouge also favored the woman and Mr. Dell favored Mr. Lyburn.

Yesterday, Mr. Lippy accused Mrs. Gouge of making "a complete turnaround" about her choice.

Mrs. Gouge agreed that Mr. Lippy and others may have gotten the impression that she favored the female applicant. She said she did not think the commissioners were making an official decision at the meeting where the applicants were discussed because Mr. Dell was not present and because the county had not checked the applicants' references.

But, she said, she reconsidered Mr. Lyburn's qualifications and decided he was the better person for the job because he had more experience working with companies.

Mr. Dell said the woman and Mr. Lyburn both were well qualified for the job.

"It was a tough choice for me. I just felt he was better qualified," he said.

Mr. Lyburn has experience working with state and local governments, which should help him as county economic development director, Mr. Peck said.

Mr. Burden said yesterday that he would not comment on the new director because the commissioners had not told him about their decision. Mr. Denton was out of the country on vacation.

Mr. Lyburn has been vice president of commercial sales and leasing at Kline Scott Visco for the past two years.

He has lived in Carroll for 15 years. His wife, Rea Lyburn, is director of the First United Presbyterian Church preschool and kindergarten in Westminster. A daughter and son attend the University of Maryland and another son is a third-grader at Mechanicsville Elementary.

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