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Posted: 05/08/13

DDA takes second look at
executive director job

Observer Staff Writer
      The Romeo Downtown Development Authority (DDA) determined a way to obtain grant funding is to not have a new director seek grants.
       During its May 1 meeting, the DDA decided the next step in finding a new executive director is to find someone that will bring village representatives together.
       Vice-charperson Randy Seidel said the DDA sought advice from Macomb County officials on the hiring process, and were told most DDAs are focusing on marketing and promotion instead of seeking grant opportunities.
       "I think we're on the right track," he said. "We've got to re-write our focus a little bit to be more heavily leaned one way versus . . . middle of the track."
       He said hiring a grant writer in lieu of a director wasn't advisable since the grant-writing process could easily burn through $15,000 with little results. The DDA budgeted around $17,000 for employment costs in 2012-13.
       DDA Director Matt Ponke said the idea of leaning toward a promoter will re-define the job description. He said the DDA will re-evaluate its pool of applicants and pursue new avenues for a candidate.
       John Paul Rea, senior planner with Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, suggested to the DDA that its new executive director be able to represent the village as a whole.
       "The greatest quality that you can really have in a DDA advocate is the stakeholder for all the local assets," he said. "From the businesses to the residents to the existing community administration, you really need a person that can galvanize all those individuals."
       Rea said this would help since most state grant programs are on a project basis as opposed to general funding, so communities need more of an organized effort to obtain them.
       He added that the DDA should instead seek the county's assistance as opposed to using its director to appyl for grants.
       "We're attempting to facilitate that a bit more," he said. "We're trying to get communites out from under `we need that money. . .and we're not going to be able to do anything without it' mentality."
       The DDA's executive director position has remained vacant since November 2012. Village President, DDA Liaison and DDA Secretary Mike Lee has taken over some of the position's responsibilities during the hiring process.
       Lee has said good communication skills and computer knowledge will be a plus for any candidates seeking the 20-hours-a-week position.

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