‘Discuss the Search’

downtownThe Downtown Improvement Board will meet this afternoon to discuss the search for an executive director. The field has been narrowed from more than 180 to two finalists.

“I’m pleased with both of them,” DIB search committee head Ed Carson said this morning.

The notice of the special DIB meeting states only that the board will “discuss the search for an executive director.” The search committee head said he wasn’t aware of any new developments and thought the board would be discussing the candidates and their Jan. 30 interviews.

“I’m not sure I’m 100 percent sure what we’re doing,” Carson said of today’s meeting.

DIB board member John Peacock, however, had a different read on the meeting. The recent mayoral-appointee said he thought the group needed to “regroup.”

“I just think this is a time to regroup a little bit,” Peacock said, “and make sure everybody is on the same page before we move forward and do something we might have to undo.”

Peacock said he felt the DIB board should have had more input into the process prior to interviewing two finalists.

“All the sudden we had these two finalists and they were being interviewed next week,” he said, adding that he would like the opportunity to ask potential candidates questions, such as “If you were already the DIB director and you got the mayor’s URAC report on your desk, what would you do?”

Recently Mayor Ashton Hayward’s Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee delivered a report full of recommendations aimed at revitalizing downtown Pensacola. One of the recommendations centered on streamlining the DIB into a single clerical position housed within the mayor’s office.

The two finalists are currently up for a $75,000-plus job overseeing downtown revitalization efforts and an $800,000 annual budget.

One finalist is currently the executive director of the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, in Colorado. The other is currently the executive director of the Development Authority of Columbia County, in Georgia.

The DIB meets this afternoon at 4:30 p.m., suite 104, 41 N. Jefferson St.