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Archive for Saturday, April 19, 2003

Chamber sets deadline to decide on CEO

Search committee co-chair says it won’t rule out starting search process anew

April 19, 2003

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A committee searching for a new chief executive and president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has set April 30 as its date to make a selection or decide to start the search over.

The two remaining candidates for the position were in town for face-to-face interviews with community leaders Wednesday and Thursday, but Shirley Martin-Smith, co-chair for the search committee, said the group still wasn't ready to make a decision.

Martin-Smith said the 13-member search committee wanted to continue checking the candidates' references and mull over its decision. She said the group would make a recommendation to the chamber's board of directors by April 30.

"None of us go about hiring CEOs on a daily basis, so we've been taking a real careful approach," Martin-Smith said. "When we make that recommendation to the board, we want to feel very good about the recommendation."

Martin-Smith, who runs an area employment service, said the group has not ruled out rejecting both candidates and starting the search over.

"We feel good that we have two great candidates, but that is still an option," Martin-Smith said. "Being in the search business, I can tell you that it is not that unusual to start over. If things don't seem to gel like they should, that is what you have to do. It isn't necessarily fun, but it is important that you do it."

The committee announced on March 28 that the search had been narrowed to two Midwestern men but declined to release their names.

Both were in town this week to attend invitation-only events where they were introduced to community leaders. Martin-Smith said about 75 people met both candidates.

"The message both of them had was that they felt they could come into this community and get to some consensus," Martin-Smith said. "They both feel they are very strong in that area."

The chamber is seeking to fill the position after Bill Sepic resigned late last year to take a similar job in Lansing, Mich. Retired Douglas County banker Jean Milstead is serving as the interim CEO and president. She did not apply for the position.

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