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Randolph To Talk Development Role

2018-09-13

BY TIM CALABRO as seen in the Randolph Herald: https://www.ourherald.com/articles/randolph-to-talk-development-role/

The Randolph Selectboard is scheduled to discuss a fulltime town position to coordinate grants and economic development in Randolph at tonight’s meeting.

That job posting has been a touchtone point of discussion among businesspeople in town over the past year or so, and was named as one of the key goals as townspeople assembled for the Randolph Regional Re-energized (R3) project earlier in the summer.

The new job, tentatively under the title of economic development director, would likely be a three-year contracted position (rather than a direct town employee), with duties spanning from economic improvement projects to grant-writing. At a Monday night meeting of the R3 task force dedicated to supporting the local economy and strengthening the downtown, the topic of a new town position was discussed and draft job descriptions were later circulated for comment.

Northfield Savings Bank’s Peter Reed, serving as co-moderator of the meeting, noted that many folks involved in the R3 proceedings had already been in close communication with the selectboard concerning the new role.

A number of job descriptions have already been drafted, he said, adding that input from the group would help narrow down the focus of the position.

Popular Demand

One theme that repeatedly emerged during the initial R3 gatherings in the spring was the need for a central coordinating authority at the town level. That person, it was suggested, could help businesses navigate municipal and state regulations and help attract companies to the area.

In an email on Tuesday, Reed shared two draft job descriptions. One, aimed squarely at economic development, borrows language for the job posting from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. The second frames the position as “director of community development and grant administration.”

In this version, duties include working with municipal boards and committees, as well as community groups, to find and secure funding for various projects.

Rep. Jay Hooper, who has been serving on the R3 task force focusing on attracting visitors to the area, said he has been discussing the new position with Town Manager Adolfo Bailon and Selectboard Chair Trini Brassard.

Funding for the position, he said, could likely come in part from another town position, that of executive secretary, which was dissolved in January.

An annual allotment of $15,000, earmarked for the Randolph Economic

Development Council, could also be used instead for the new position. One idea to cover the remainder is fundraising among businesses in town.

Businesses who had at first reacted positively to the idea of contributing toward an economic development officer’s pay, have since “gone quiet,” Hooper said.

Rallying businesses around the economic development position is a top priority for his R3 task force, he added.

The selectboard is scheduled to discuss the job description for the new post at its meeting tonight, Thursday, Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall.

The discussion is slated to come at the end of the evening’s new business segment.