by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — By a unanimous vote, the seven-member board of the Logansport economic development organization known as CLEDO named John Hipskind its director on a permanent basis, the board announced Friday.
“We hired John as an interim director, and he was doing such a great job, we decided we couldn’t get anybody better than him,” said Jim Hayden, president of the CLEDO board. “He’s just what we need.”
The CLEDO board didn’t interview any other candidates for the position, Hayden said. Hipskind has been the organization’s interim director since early June.
Between Hipskind’s work and that of local elected officials, the last six months have seen as much economic development activity as one would expect during an entire year, added Hayden.
The CLEDO board also agreed to terms set forth by the county as Cass County proceeds with its own economic development director. Those terms are:
• The county will make the last County Economic Development Income Tax, or CEDIT, payment due from the existing ordinance, which has already been invoiced to the county;
• The county voluntarily has relinquished its two seats on the CLEDO board;
• No funds will be coming from the county to CLEDO after the November payment is issued;
• In order to help the county fund its new economic director, CLEDO will loan the county up to $30,000 from the November CEDIT payment to be repaid to CLEDO no later than June 1, 2014.
In earlier reports, Cass County Commissioner Dave Arnold has said the county’s new economic development director, Christy Householder, would be cooperating with CLEDO. Householder was hired for the newly-created position at the beginning of this month.
About $80,000 of CLEDO’s revenues in 2013 came from county CEDIT contributions, according to Hayden. The rest of the revenues were from Logansport CEDIT funds and private donations.
At the beginning of 2013, the organization had projected its total income to be about $200,000.
The board also unanimously agreed that the move by the county to name its own economic development director did not change CLEDO’s mission to develop economic growth for the community.
The board said in a release that it is willing to work with the county director in accomplishing that mission.
“Honestly, we can’t afford to have problems between us,” said Hayden. “We’ve got too many potential clients looking. ... It would be foolish for us to have an adversarial relationship.”
However, since the relationship between CLEDO and the county has changed, the organization’s alias now stands for City of Logansport Economic Development Organization.
The organization invited anyone interested in hearing a recap of the past year and its plans for 2014 to the CLEDO annual meeting at noon Jan. 29, 2014, at Cross-Wind United Methodist Church. For tickets, contact Teresa in the CLEDO office at email@example.com or 574-722-5988. CLEDO will pay the cost of the event for those who call ahead to reserve a seat.
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME