In conclusion to a month’s worth of weekly brainstorming sessions on economic development, the advisory committee formed to explore options in making the county a stronger player in landing jobs was subdivided Monday into three groups.
Two immediate functions among them are to form a solid structure of the Chamber of Commerce and to find a new executive director following Tony Green’s decision Friday to resign.
The remaining group will focus on increasing finances to put Monroe County on a level playing field with neighboring counties.
“The county and the organization is in a very unique position to move forward with the very positive momentum for stronger unity and increased funding as the result of the Future Direction Committee meetings of the past few weeks. I would like to thank all past and present members of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Members; the Monroe County Board of Supervisors and all mayors and aldermen for allowing me to serve as your representative for the past five years. It has been an honor and a privilege. Thank you for the support, advice and assistance that each of you has offered our organization during this time. With the many expansions that have created over 1,000 new manufacturing jobs over the past few years, the county and the organization is now in a great position to attain the next level of success. I wish Monroe County the very best,” Green said.
Monday’s meeting came on the heels of a Thursday meeting that reviewed the Chamber’s bylaws.
“We already have the authority to do whatever we need. Whoever wrote these bylaws did an excellent job in providing for the future,” said Danny Spreitler.
It was determined in Thursday’s meeting, the Chamber has not been as involved in industrial recruitment as it should for the past few years. The same potential industrial sites listed in a 2005 Tennessee Valley Authority survey are still available now.
“We need to recognize our mistakes and look at why and how we made them. We need to realize we fell asleep at the wheel and move forward with one vision for the betterment of Monroe County. This group came in energized and we need to stay energized,” said John Allmond, Monroe County Chamber of Commerce chairman.
Discussion revolved around modeling a stronger Chamber structure after the Community Development Foundation or the Golden Triangle Development LINK.
“What’s important isn’t what’s written down on paper, but how they function. We need to look at what they do on a day-by-day basis,” said Sen. Hob Bryan.
Talk shortly followed of the cross county rivalries between towns and the importance of how potential industry landing in one town could help the entire county.
“Nobody is denying that the mayors should be working on their best interests, but it doesn’t need to be to the point of being conniving against one another. People have to be willing to work no matter where they’re from,” Allmond said.
While a more clear definition of structure is expected to be made by next Monday’s meeting, Allmond and Doug Knittig will coordinate with former Monroe County Chamber director Stephen Surles, who currently serves as a regional development specialist for the TVA, in recruiting a new director.
Surles will report back with a short list of possible directors while Green will continue his services as long as the Chamber needs him.