Plain City hiring economic developer

By Andrea Chaffin -

Plain City is moving forward with hiring the county’s only municipal economic director.

Council members agreed to post the position during a three-hour work session held Monday in lieu of the regularly scheduled village council meeting.

Four options were initially discussed.

The first was reprising the dual role of police chief/village administrator — a position held by Steve Hilbert during the mid 200os. Chief Dale McKee said it was a position he would consider.

If council moves in that role, McKee “would be groomed for public safety director” when the village becomes a city, officials said. That change is anticipated following the 2020 Census.

Councilman Nick Kennedy said he was against that option because it diverts the chief’s attention from public safety.

The second option created a dual role of village administrator and zoning inspector. Currently, the village employs a part-time zoning officer.

The third option was exploring a contract with neighboring Jerome Township, which is in the process of hiring its own zoning inspector.

The fourth option, which council approved, was hiring a separate, full-time position.

“If we’re going to take a leap of faith, let’s do it cleanly,” said Kennedy.

Mayor Darrin Lane said he wants to create a hiring committee, consisting of himself, Madison County CIC director David Kell, councilwoman Leslie Perkins, and a few other individuals to interview candidates.

Pay is $65,000 to $75,000 annually, plus a $5,000 bonus, in addition to benefits.

“This position needs to pay for itself,” said fiscal officer Renee Van Winkle.

Lane said he hopes village administrator Kevin Vaughn will apply. He sees the role of village administrator as someone overseeing budgets and handling day-to-day operations, he said.

“Ninety percent of Kevin’s hours are economic development,” he said.

The job description, which will be used on an advertisement being posted this week, states the position will report directly to the mayor. This position will include working with individuals and companies to establish, relocate, or expand their businesses within the community.

Among other duties, the individual will represent the village at high-visibility functions and in meetings with community business leaders and corporate VIPs; serve as liaison between the village staff and local businesses, corporations and developers; facilitate development processes for large scale projects and developments; develop and recommend various strategies, alternatives and solutions to address problems/issues facing the business community; and become familiar with the existing inventory of available buildings and business and residential development sites within the community.

The candidate should have considerable knowledge of business development and the community for Plain City and Union and Madison counties, as well as working knowledge of municipal zoning and infrastructure.

A bachelor’s degree and/or experience is required.

Officials hope to have the deadline for applications set to Sept. 16.

By Andrea Chaffin

Andrea Chaffin can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.

Andrea Chaffin can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.