The overseers of development at Anniston’s former Fort McClellan are hiring.
The McClellan Development Authority board took steps Tuesday to find an executive director to oversee day-to-day operations at the former fort. The move comes more than three weeks after the board accepted the resignation of longtime executive director Robin Scott.
During a Tuesday called meeting, the board directed Scott to advertise the job opening in local newspapers, online and with area organizations such as the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. The board also agreed to accept applications for the job until Sept. 19.
Scott’s last day with the MDA will be on Sept. 28 after 10 years as executive director.
The board did not set a salary range or timeframe for the job during the meeting. The board in a previous meeting reduced some duties for the potential hire that Scott has done for years. Scott currently makes around $120,000 a year.
The scope of the MDA’s work has shrunk in recent years since much of the land at the site has been developed. As such, the board no longer has any steady stream of revenue and has mulled dissolving.
Board members were also wary of looking for job candidates outside the region given that they don’t yet know how long the job would last.
“I think we have to be realistic since the future is not known,” board member Aaron Acker said during the meeting. “I just don’t know if we’re going to get someone to relocate their family here for a job they don’t know is going to be here.”
Also during the meeting, the board voted to hire Holmes II Excavation of Munford for $144,900 to move dirt blocking the long-planned Iron Mountain Road extension. The goal is to have some 36,000 cubic yards of dirt relocated to the parking lot of a former airfield at McClellan by Sept. 30.
“Speed is of the essence,” Scott said in the meeting.
Scott said he expects the Alabama Department of Transportation to let the bid on the 2-mile road extension in October. Contractor bids were opened last week on the more than $4 million project, funded by a state grant.
Work began on the extension in 2012 with land clearing. However, progress stalled after the MDA learned in August 2015 that the planned road interfered with World War I training trenches. Engineers had to redraw the extension plans to avoid the historic sites.
The dirt in need of relocation came from the 2012 land clearing and now sits in the way of the redrawn extension plans, Scott said.
The board also approved a six-month contract extension for MDA attorney Jason Odom. The contact includes a $60,000 retainer, $150 an hour to perform legal duties pertaining to the federally funded cleanup work at McClellan and $75 an hour to handle cleanup management duties that Scott has done.
Some board members questioned whether the $60,000 retainer was needed given the reduced scope of the MDA.
Scott said having an attorney on retainer means the MDA gets priority and can have legal issues handled quickly. Also, Odom has 10 years’ worth of experience working for the MDA, Scott said.
“From my perspective, it’s the value of the service,” Scott said of Odom.