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Town, RRFDC closer to deal on economic development job

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It’s the Rainy River Future Development Corp.’s turn to make a play in the town’s ongoing hiring process for an economic development officer.

The town last week handed the RRFDC a list of criteria they will be required to meet in any new contracts.

“I think we should go back to RRFDC and see if they will go through our criteria of seven or eight items, or pick up the phone and call someone for the job,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said during a special council meeting last Wednesday night.

RRFDC chair Telford Advent said the criteria make sense and their board is working on a response for next week.

“Basically, what it is is they want to know more about how we will deliver the services,” said Advent. “It’s not really anything that we haven’t been doing.

“They want more time spent on it and they’re paying for having it done.”

The proposal sent to the RRFDC includes one economic development officer dedicating at least three days a week to the town’s economic development priorities rather than the entire district’s.

“We would want to make sure the individual reported to council,” noted Coun. Dave Bourgeault.

“The ideal structure for me would be to have somebody who worked for the Town of Fort Frances and we didn’t find that in the interview process,” he added.

There had been 10 applications for the position--nine from individuals and the other from the RRFDC.

But after conducting several interviews, the application from the RRFDC was deemed the most appealing. Council agreed during last Wednesday’s meeting to pursue signing a contract with the RRFDC to act as the town’s economic development officer providing it meets the criteria.

“I think there’s some real urgency and our only option is with the RRFDC,” Coun. Deane Cunningham said at the meeting, but added any new contract should be a trial run.

“I wouldn’t just close the door on the [hiring] process, just try it for six months,” he noted.

Advent said the RRFDC will present its response at the next council meeting coming up Monday night.

“We’re going to have it in rough draft for them on the 11th,” he noted. “I think it’s important that we keep everything under one [corporation] rather than in bits and pieces in the district.”

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