October 16, 2013 10:11:11 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Ron Maloney has left his post as the Golden Triangle Development Link's vice president of economic development for West Point and Clay County, Link CEO Joe Max Higgins confirmed Tuesday.
Higgins said Maloney, who joined the Link in August 2012, has accepted a leadership role with a regional economic development group in his native Pennsylvania.
Maloney came on board as the county's Prairie Belt Powersite was unveiled -- the same site that was selected by Yokohama Tire Company for construction of a $1.2 billion tire plant. Higgins credited Maloney for assisting in the effort to bring the global tire manufacturer to the Golden Triangle.
"He joined our team and worked on critical parts of the project as we developed it," Higgins said. "He and I were talking and he said, 'I've learned a lot on this project. I think I'd like to be a number one.'"
Higgins likened Maloney to a "number four" in line behind himself, chief operating officer Joey Deason and Brenda Lathan, the latter of the two holding vice presidential posts in Oktibbeha County and Lowndes County for economic development, respectively.
Higgins said Maloney's last day was Sept. 30. Calls to Maloney seeking comment on his new role were not returned.
Higgins said he will be in discussions with the Link's executive committee to evaluate when the economic development consortium might re-brand into the Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority. In order to do so, legislation, which likely won't be introduced to state legislature until 2015, has to be passed. That will determine how the Link goes forward in replacing Maloney, Higgins said.
"If we go Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority, we'll no longer be the Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. We'll just be economic development for three counties. If we stay the Golden Triangle Development Link, we probably stay being the chamber and economic development group," he said. "I've got to have some direction from my guys."
Either way, he said, it is unlikely they will fill Maloney's position this year.
"Right now we've just got a lot of plates in the air. Hiring somebody is sometimes harder than you going and doing the job for a few months," he said. "Right now between Brenda and Joey and me, we're all spinning the plates. West Point and Clay County are not going to be getting any substandard services. We're taking care of business."
Lathan named to MEDC board
The Link announced Tuesday that Lathan had been named to the Mississippi Economic Development Council's board of directors as an at -large member. She will serve on the board for one year.
Lathan has been in her current position with the Link since 2007. She has also been director of research and business development for the economic development group.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.