SOPA asks village to chip-in for director’s salary

By Ryan Ottney

November 7, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

NEW BOSTON — A member of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) came to the New Boston Village Council meeting Tuesday night to ask the village for money to help the organization pay the salary for its soon-to-be-hired executive director.

C.B. Herrman, finance chairman for SOPA, asked the village of New Boston to commit to a three-year agreement (2014-16), providing $5,000 each year toward their executive director’s salary.

“The Port Authority was reorganized this year by the county commissioners, and the intent is to make the Port Authority the primary economic development vehicle for the entire county. We’re trying to get the governmental entities, as well as the private sector, on board to help us a single point of contact for all the leads that are coming for economic development,” Herrmann said. “There’s a lot of interest in having a good economic development operation, and we’re presently in the process of hiring an executive director to be that frontman to represent the community and be the liaison when requests come in.”

Based on the executive director’s job description, the candidate must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, economics, finance, public administration or a related field. Experience with state, regional or local economic development is desired. According to SOPA Chairman Todd Book, whomever is chosen as the executive director for SOPA would also take over Book’s role as Economic Development Director for Scioto County.

The organization has narrowed its search to five people — Jason Kester, Harry Staven, Michael Messerly, Doug McClure and Michele Throckmorton. Book said this week the search has now been cut to two, but he would not identify which two.

“We are asking tonight for the continued support of the village of New Boston for our efforts, and we’re asking for a multiple-year commitment. A three-year commitment so we can get this project taken to the next level. So on behalf of the board, I’d like to encourage your continued participation,” Herrman said.

He said the organization has also asked the city and county, and private businesses, to contribute toward the salary, which is estimated between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. Hermann told council Tuesday evening that SOPA is trying to raise about $120,000 to get started.

“The time is right. There’s activities on the increase, and if we have a concerted, combined effort for the county and our local communities, I think we’ll have a better chance at success,” Herrman said.

Members of New Boston Council agreed to consider the request, and made no decision immediately Tuesday night. Councilman Junior Williams said the village might be willing to consider an agreement on a year-by-year review, to make sure it was available in their yearly budget.

“We’ve got people we haven’t paid money due back from 2010 (when the village cut employee wages). We’ve just got to take care of our people here also,” Williams said.

New Boston Village Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 6:30 p.m., in the council chambers of the Vern Riffe Community Center on Rhodes Avenue, in New Boston. The next regular meeting is Nov. 19.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.