The Industrial Board has put off hiring a $15-per-hour, part-time position due to the pandemic.

The board of directors for the Coffee County Industrial Board met June 17 via a conference call for the first time since their February meeting and talked about what’s happened since the meeting.

Executive Director Kimber Sharp gave her Executive Director’s report and talked about all that has been happening since the pandemic.

In the Executive Director’s report, Sharp talked about staying in communication with the other industries and to convey that information to everyone when it came in.

Sharp also talked about how they will be able to have virtual site visits for prospects to comply with social distancing guidelines. She mentioned there still some things to work out but they have ideas.

“It’s a lot of working it out, we don’t have a solid ‘this is how we’re doing it’ plan but we have ideas,” said Sharp. “It’s mostly they sit in their office and we share our screens, we bring in people like engineers and builders and such.”

The last item of the report was Sharp discussing the $15-per-hour, part-time position to help around the office. Back in January, the Budget and Finance committee approved a budget amendment appropriating funds for the $15-per-hour, part-time position.

Sharp said it didn’t reach the full commission until the April 14 meeting. The commission approved the motion to pass the budget amendment; however, some of the commissioners opposed the motion due to concerns of hiring additional staff when companies were cutting expenses, laying off or furloughing workers. Some commissioners also voiced disagreement paying $15 per hour for clerical duties that didn’t require special skills.

By the time the commission passed the motion, the Industrial Board office were working remotely. When they returned to the office they felt they didn’t need the extra hire.

“Things had slowed down and a whole lot of different reasons,” said Sharp. “We’ve not hired that person and right now we have taken the person out of the budget for next year. We’ll reevaluate that if things pick back up and if there is a need.”

Sharp then clarified that the hire’s responsibilities wouldn’t be just clerical work. She said if they were to fill the position, the person would need to have multiple administrative skills as well as a level of professionalism and maturity as they would be in front of potential prospects and have access to confidential information.

“We want to make sure that person is trustworthy and mature enough to handle and respect that,” Sharp said. “This is not just somebody answering the phones, we’re looking for someone who will understand what we’re doing and do the research. I just want everyone to understand what we were looking for but for now it’s on hold.”

Sharp said they have not hired someone for the position and had the position removed from the budget.

Kyle Murphy may be reached at kmurphy@tullahomanews.com.

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