From the Mayor 07/13/16

Reprinted with permission of the Independence Daily Reporter

Two weeks ago, I quoted Winston Churchill: A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

That quote comes to mind again, as two resignations have been announced recently which will greatly affect the future of Independence and Montgomery County. I’m referring to the resignations of Liz Moore from Independence Main Street, and Aaron Heckman as Director of the Montgomery County Action Council. I believe we all need to make it a top priority to fill these two positions with world class replacements. Settling for anything less than the best just won’t do.

The Independence Main Street organization doesn’t have an impressive budget, so the position doesn’t pay a lot. We need to find someone that really loves Independence, like Liz, and is willing to take the job for the love of our community and not for the love of money.

Several people have suggested that perhaps we should combine our Main Street organization with our Chamber of Commerce. What do you think? I really have no idea whether the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. But I can see where there might be some synergies achieved by folding the Main Street organization into the Chamber. If the decision makers decide that it’s worth considering, this might be the right time. If you have thoughts on this question, please make your voice heard.

Aaron took over as Director of the Montgomery County Action Council in 2013. The organization is funded by the county, as well as contributions from four cities; Caney, Cherryvale, Coffeyville, and Independence. It also receives significant funding from other sources, including membership fees from 52 companies and individuals in Independence, 32 in Coffeyville, nine in Caney, and seven in Cherryvale.

This Director’s position is being advertised across the state and even across the country. But on the other hand, like the Main Street position, this job needs someone that really loves SE Kansas and especially Montgomery County. I don’t think that it makes sense to hire someone just because they’ve had similar job experience; they’ve really got to love Montgomery county, or how will they ever sell it to prospective companies?

So in my mind, here are the requirements for both jobs. The perfect candidates must love, love, love Independence and Montgomery County, they must be self-starters, they must be outgoing and personable, and have tremendous amounts of energy. Does that describe you? Or someone that you know? Have you got grown kids that have often said, “I’d love to move home to Independence but where would I find a job?” We’ve got so many amazing people here in Independence, but they may not think of themselves as being a great candidate for either of these two positions. Contact them and encourage them to consider it.

Please run through a mental list of all your friends and family, of any age, and help us find the perfect candidates for these two extremely important jobs. The best city in America deserves to have the best people promoting it.

Mayor Gary Hogsett