Evart DDA continues search for director
EVART — The search for a director of Evart’s Downtown Development Authority continues after stuttering stops, dramatic delays, and what to some area residents may appear to be petty postponements of the process.
The DDA has been functioning without a director since July 2011, when former director Darcy Salinas resigned to take up a new posting as director of the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association.
She had been working with the DDA since November 2008.
At the time of her leaving, DDA planners announced they were looking for a part-time director “… who will lead the organization’s business and community development efforts.”
In the meantime, board chair Alan Bengry has been handling administrative issues that arise.
The job was posted with the board looking for someone who would “… be responsible for the initiation and promotion of programs to improve, preserve and enhance the DDA district as well as promoting the overall appearance and economic violability of the district.”
Among other responsibilities, the DDA director is largely responsible for organizing the annual Summer Musicale Series concert schedule, continuing efforts with the Evart Shop Local program, and preparing the Evart Fall Festival. The director also administers the Downtown Facade and Building Improvement Program and represents Evart in conferences and seminars, such as the Michigan Festival and Events Association gathering. The director is also the DDA’s point person in organization of Evart’s Christmas in a Small Town program.
The Evart DDA district is not very big — the immediate downtown area and along U.S. 10 to Twin Creek. Still, there is a lot of opportunity for the organization to create new projects, and maintain existing programs that highlight the community.
In October of last year, the county prosecutor was notified that during the selection process there may have been violations of the federal Open Meetings Act.
This complaint was later dropped and no further action was deemed necessary.
The process, however, came to a grinding halt as issues were cleared up and the job was re-posted. Everything had to start anew.
Interviews were finally carried out earlier this week, Tuesday, Feb. 7.
“It was decided we would interview every candidate who wished to meet with the board,” Bengry said. “This would eliminate any suggestion of favoritism.
“The board interviewed nine people. Eleven people filed applications for the job, but two declined to come for an interview.
“A committee of the DDA interviewed all nine, and will make a recommendation to the full board as to potential call-backs for a second interview.
“The process will take a little while yet.”
In the meantime, Bengry continues handling the day to day issues.