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Development leader search continues
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After more than a year, the chamber of commerce has yet to hire an economic development leader, but chamber President Hunter Hall said Monday that he won’t rush the decision.

In his quarterly update to the Covington City Council, Hall said the chamber is still searching after conducting more than 20 interviews and meeting with five finalists in 2010. He said the chamber made one job offer, but that candidate declined. Hall said the candidate liked Newton County but wanted to finish what he had started in his community.

Hall said the search has been prolonged because the chamber is pursuing talented, young candidates who are already employed.

"The person we’re looking to hire is not looking for a job," he said. "He didn’t get let go and is looking to reposition. Every candidate we’ve brought in is a candidate we’ve searched out."

Economic forecasts call for a resumption of significant economic growth in 2012 and 2013, the first since the recession began in December 2007, Hall said. The chamber wants to position itself in 2011 for growth by making a strong hire and having land available for industries.

Hall said the chamber is close to making a hire. The chamber is focused on job growth, which Hall said will have to come before the residential development market rebounds.