Local government

A year after Greg Smith resigned, county still hasn’t hired a new economic development director

VALE – A year after Greg Smith resigned as Malheur County’s economic development director officials have not yet replaced him and are unsure when they will.
The county began advertising a new economic development position in March. Three people applied said Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge. The job pays $59,689 to $80,925.
The advertisement says the director will “lead Malheur County in encouraging, promoting and coordaining the economic develop efforts and strategies of the county.”
The economic development director is tasked to work directly for the Malheur County Court “with general guidelines and with a wide degree of latitude for the exercise of initiative and judgement.”
Ron Jacobs, Malheur County commissioner, said last week the economic development director position is crucial.
“We have to have one. We as the commissioners are not qualified to handle that,” he said.
Joyce said he too believed the position is important.
Jacobs said the county court “will continue to work” on an effort to hire a new director.
“We have to go through those (applications) and go through the process,” he said.
He said hiring the new director, who will be a county employee instead of a contractor, as “one of our main priorities.”
Commissioner Jim Mendiola said he believes interviews will start soon with the three applicants.
“It needs to get done. I don’t know if it is a higher priority than the homeless situation but it is right up there. It would be handy to have someone to catch all the calls and give some direction instead of nothing at all,” said Mendiola.
Smith provided economic development services as a contractor. Through his firm, Gregory Smith & Company of Heppner, Smith served as the economic development director from 2013 until last June. His company was paid $9,000 a month for its service.
He quit over what he described as a “toxic” environment and in the face of continuing investigative work into his work by the Enterprise.
In 2017, the county also added to Smith’s contract, opting to pay an extra $6,000 a month to oversee the beleaguered Treasure Valley Reload Center. After he resigned, Smith chose to go to work directly for the Malheur County Development Corp., the public firm tasked by the county court to oversee the reload project. For that work, Smith’s company was paid $9,000 a month but he quit the position in February.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

UPDATE: Greg Smith resigns from top county economic development position

Smith leaves key tasks undone as he ends economic development tenure for Malheur County

TIMELINE: Greg Smith’s time in Malheur County comes to an end

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