Micki Sumpter, Ellsworth’s retiring economic development director, has presided over an impressive period of growth in her six years at City Hall. Last Thursday’s ceremony marking the opening of The Jackson Laboratory’s state-of-the-art mouse production facility included specific acknowledgment of Sumpter, as well as the city manager and Ellsworth’s municipal government, in general.
Even so, City Manager David Cole’s mention of plans to launch a search for Sumpter’s successor in the coming weeks raises concern. What’s the hurry? We urge care and deliberation in choosing the next economic development director.
Times change. Markets change. Few positions in government face so fluid and dynamic an arena than that of the economic development director. We hope that goals, objectives and expectations will be spelled out and rehearsed by the city manager and City Council well before the first interview.
The expectations placed on an economic development director range from policy wonk to rainmaker. For the sake of the city and in the best interests of the job candidates who come forward, city leaders need to articulate to themselves, then to the candidates, what is needed, what is expected and how results will be measured.
It’s not likely that such a workup can be completed in a few weeks. Take your time, Ellsworth.