Archived Story

Chamber must focus long-term

Published 9:00am Thursday, January 3, 2013

Whoever becomes the next director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce will have some big shoes — and vocal cords — to fill.

Bob Smith, the former television news anchor with a distinctive deep voice turned fundraiser extraordinaire for Ohio University Southern, retired last month after four very successful years leading the business-focused community organization.

Smith is largely credited with expanding the organization’s membership, introducing social events like the Business After Hours receptions and Spotlight dinners, as well as growing the Young Professionals organization.

Looking to fill Smith’s leadership void, the chamber hopes to find a permanent replacement in the next six months, but also may name an interim director to serve during the gap.

We hope the chamber leaders rethink this approach.

An interim director should only be chosen if he or she has no interest in the position long-term. Otherwise it gives that individual an unfair advantage, taints the entire search process and likely deters other qualified individuals from expressing their interest.

The search committee should focus its efforts solely on the permanent solution and not look toward a short-term fix. If they think a candidate would be a good interim director, then his or her qualifications should be weighed with the idea that it would be permanent.

The position is only part-time, so the duties could likely be handled by others for a few months.

The chamber’s next director will need to have the right mix of business background, communication skills, organizational talents and attention to detail.

Finding the right person to fill this role for years to come won’t be easy, but it should be the sole priority.

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