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JDA board begins executive director search

By Staff | Jan 20, 2017

At a meeting Wednesday morning, the Rugby Job Development Authority Board created a committee to begin the process of searching for a new executive director.

The committee consists of three members: Nathan Kunde, Tanner Johnson and Gary Kraft.

Kunde said he heard rumors of a proposal to combine the Chamber of Commerce and JDA executive director positions. Board chairman Fr. Tom Graner said he wanted more information, including whether there were communities that combined those positions, as he said some combinations of public and private duties between the two positions being combined could be “troublesome.”

Kunde asked what the deadline would be in finding someone to fill the executive director position. Graner said he would like the position filled “as soon as possible,” but was more interested in finding a qualified candidate.

The executive director’s job responsibilities include planning and operating the JDA’s budget; establishing policies and procedures for daily operations; serving as the JDA’s spokesperson; establishing and maintaining relationships with economic development groups; working with the board on policy decisions and fundraising; overseeing board and committee meetings as well as marketing and communication efforts; and reviewing and approving contracts for services

Executive Director Joseph T. Pelt has been on a leave of absence since August 2016. In its November 2016 meeting, the board voted to put a “sunset date” of Jan. 15 for his return, and to move forward with updating the job description.

Student loan assistance program

The board approved motions to allow the JDA’s student loan repayment assistance program to start receiving applicants, and to have a committee bring applicant recommendations to the board’s meeting in March.

The program is intended to reduce loan payments for individuals employed full-time at a business or government entity in the Rugby area; who make less than $45,000 in annual income; and not be in default of a Federal Family Education Loan, Stafford loans, Dakota Education Alternative Loan, subsidized or unsubsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan, FFEL or Ford Federal Direct Consolidated loans, or private student loans. If approved, recipients receive $125 per month for two years applied to their student loan accounts. Recipients are eligible to receive up to $1,500 for each year worked in the Rugby area, contingent on JDA funding.

Other actions

The board held election of officers. Kunde was elected vice president, succeeding Johnson. Graner, Jacob Nelson and Pete Burgard were re-elected as president, secretary and treasurer, respectively.

The board approved full payment of special assessments on a second lot in Chalmer’s First Addition owned by Craig Zachmeier.

The board approved meeting minutes from November. The board did not have an official December meeting as no quorum was present.

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