By Taylor Boyd
Stuart Town Manager Terry Tilley is retiring in September, after serving in his current role for 42 years.
Tilley’s will “be big shoes to fill and it’s going to be a difficult process I’m sure, but I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of interest,” Stuart Mayor Ray Weiland said at the Wednesday, Feb. 17 Town Council meeting. “It’s going to be very difficult to find someone who can do everything that you (Tilley) can do, and we’ve got our work cut out for us, unquestionable.”
“I’ve been real fortunate and I’ve had a good career,” Tilley said.
Weiland advised the council to create a committee to help with the search for Tilley’s successor.
“I think that it should not just be members of the council, but it should a committee that gives recommendation to the council for the person they feel would be the ideal candidate,” he said. “I could even see a couple of residents” on the committee “if we want to try to go that far out with it.”
Currently, the committee includes Weiland, Tilley, Susan Slate, clerk; and council members Rebecca Adcock, Erica Cipko, and Dean Goad.
“What I would like to do is get this going as early as possible, get some good candidates in, and maybe if we pick somebody who might have some time to shadow Terry for a month or two before the transition takes place,” Weiland said.
Chris Corbett, town attorney, said an aspect that has changed since Tilley was hired is that government executives work under contracts.
“Now, Terry has always served at the pleasure of council and he felt reasonably comfortable with that and the council felt reasonably comfortable with that, and obviously it makes it easier to hire and fire folks if they serve at the pleasure. But most candidates come from the mindset of what is current and has been current for about 20 years now, and that is that government executives work on contract,” Corbett said.
“I’m not recommending it, I’m not selling it, I’m just warning you now so the committee can be sort of thinking whether or not it’s something that we’re going to go with or not go with, or think about at least” beforehand, he said.
Weiland said the committee would talk to other towns for input on the process and opinions on contracts and non-contracts.
“Of course, the person we pick might demand a contract, and if that’s the case we’ll have to work that out,” he said.
In other matters, the council:
* Heard from Bryce Simmons, director of Economic Development, about grants the town may apply for, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the Downtown Historic District and the Citizens Institute for Rural Design (CIRD).
“There’s two levels to the CIRD. Four communities across the nation will be selected for what they call a design workshop. That will be a day-long intensive program that will be getting community input and doing the same functions as a business development program,” Simmons said.
He said the other level involves 15 communities being selected to do an online design course ending in December 2022 that teaches ways of community input and engagement and the best practices in rural design.
“I have gotten the buy-in of four individuals to apply for this program — myself, Rebecca (Adcock) as the Chamber president, Sarah Wray as a leader through the Reynolds Homestead, and Kathleen McEvoy, the grant coordinator for the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC).
“So as far as four people who would be the cohort to apply for this, you have Economic Development, the Chamber, a community development organization, and the planning district commission. So, that’s something that we are looking at getting support from the town to apply to this and move forward with this,” Simmons said.
*Voted to allocate up to $2,000 if the town is selected for the CIRD grant.
*Voted to write a letter of support of the cohort to apply for the CIRD grant.
*Reelected Adcock as the vice-mayor.
*Discussed sending out additional letters concerning blighted properties.