Leaders must decide to make right hire(s)

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

City leaders may tire of hearing this argument, but it will not end until a decision is made one way or another.

The news of Kathy Leverett’s resignation earlier this week is a hard pill to swallow for those who understand the importance of her position and the quality of work she performed. Though Leverett will remain in Demopolis for another six months, losing her talent truly will be a loss for our area.

Because change is imminent, we believe now is a perfect time for the leaders of this city to seriously analyze the position Leverett will leave in January. In her current capacity, Leverett heads all Chamber of Commerce AND Industrial Development Board duties.

Let’s make that position more understandable. Currently, the one person who handles the chamber and IDB is in charge of:

Every community event

Christmas on the River

Freedom on the River

Making those programs better each year

Helping downtown businesses grow

Helping U.S. Highway 80 businesses grow

Hosting every retail function

Planning every parade

Devising ways to promote tourism

Creating plans for the city’s economic growth

Hosting every retail business prospect

Hosting every industry prospect

Building relationships with state politicians

Building relationships with federal politicians

Having a presence in Montgomery.

How can the leaders of this city not use this opportunity to consider replacing Leverett with two people? Simply recruiting new industry is a job in itself. Coordinating and hosting all of our wonderful community events is another job altogether.

When the city of Demopolis makes its decision to hire Leverett’s replacement, the leaders shouldn’t stop with one person. If we want to grow and invest in our economic base, we must have the personnel to effectively accomplish that goal.

Most successful businesses can’t operate in the same way we run our chamber of industrial board. Only with Leverett’s ability have we been able to do so for the past five years. But because she has led us to new growth, we must not accept the same from the next person &045;&045; preferably people who take her place.