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Economic development council still searching for director

The Pearl River County Economic Development Council is back to searching for a director after a candidate who was recently offered the job chose to remain in his old position, said the Council’s Board of Directors President Darren Champagne.

The candidate declined the job here because he was offered a raise at his current job, so the Board is actively seeking a new candidate, he said. The Board has received new resumes, and expects to conduct interviews in the next couple of weeks, Champagne said.

Champagne said the cost of hiring an economic developer is higher than the Board anticipated, leading them to consider hiring someone with less experience.

The Council’s Board of Directors is established and currently meets once a month, Champagne said. The Board consists of members from the county with a vested interest in bringing economic development to the county, he said. Board members include Chairperson Dr. Adam Breerwood, Secretary Harold Little, Board member Joey McClinton and Board member Kevin Hedgepeth, Champagne said.

“I’m the only one that’s not a native of the area, and I’ve been here over 30 years. We all have a vested interest to try and make this thing work,” Champagne said.

The Board members all have ties to business, including owning local businesses and/or working at PRCC, he said.

Currently the county has set aside $150,000 in funding for the Council, said District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry. Those funds will be used to hire an executive director and staff for the Council, according to previous coverage.

Pearl River Community College is providing office space and demographic information, Champagne said. The Council is also attempting to work with other counties to reach the goal if promoting economic development within Pearl River County, Champagne said.