County snags LS firm for economic development

bbashioum@demo-mo.comMay 16, 2014 

Cass County’s acquisition of a new economic development director has hit a road bump.

County Commissioners approved a professional services agreement with Sandra Allison, Rolla, last month to lead the county’s economic development initiatives, with an expected start day in early May. She had also been tapped to serve as the executive director of the Cass County Corporation for Economic Development.

Allison was on the agenda to give a CCCED update at the Cass County Coalition of Chambers luncheon on May 8. When called upon to speak, it was determined that Allison was not in attendance at the meeting.

Subsequently, CCCED board member Pete Kerckhoff announced to attendees that Allison wouldn’t be coming to the county afterall and that they’re looking to select an alternate for the position.

According to Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox, Allison is not accepting the job, citing business and personal conflicts.

“While it is unfortunate that Mrs. Allison will be unable to accept the position, I think we all understand that these things sometimes happen,” Cox said. “The good news is that we had a number of qualified applicants to choose from.”

The job has been left unfilled since Melissa Freeman resigned in October 2013.

A meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, May 15, between the Commissioners and the CCCED executive board to make a recommendation to fulfill the role with an alternate applicant.

At the May 15 meeting, the screening committee will be looking to recommend Spectrum Strategies, a Lee’s Summit-agency, to provide economic development services.

“The team members at Spectrum Strategies have a wealth of knowledge and experience in economic development, and I'm looking forward to having them on board," Cox added.

William Brown, president of Spectrum Strategies, is expected to be in attendance to review a draft version of the service agreement.

“I think there are a lot of opportunities that remain in Cass County for economic development,” Brown said. “I thought we could help Cass County and the stakeholders there obtain some of the goals that they’ve set out for themselves.”

Brown described Spectrum Strategies as an economic development firm that has a focus of developing public-private partnerships.

If contracts with Spectrum Strategies are signed, the firm is expected to start providing services for the county and CCCED beginning Sunday, June 1.

“The county has grown a lot and there’s a lot of good things happening,” Brown added. “I think (Cass County) is on the cuff of some really good things that go beyond a lot of the success that we’ve already had.”

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