Charlotte Commissioners Name Economic Development Director
June 19, 2019
Betsy Calvery - Staff Writer
Port Charlotte Sun
Dave Gammon, who has been serving as interim economic development director, has been selected for the permanent position after two rounds of outside candidates came and went.
Charlotte County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint him to the position with a six-month evaluation and possible pay raise. He will be paid $95,000 to start, which is at the bottom of the pay scale that the county’s Human Resources had researched.
Gammon at one point had withdrawn his name from the competition after the board picked another candidate in the first round. That first choice was not a unanimous choice, and after that person asked for a higher pay rate, the board backed out of the deal.
Fewer people applied for the second round of interviews, and Gammon agreed to interview again. Of the three people who interviewed by Skype in the semi-finals, only Gammon remains. One candidate from Kentucky mentioned a family emergency, and has not been heard from since. The other from the Chicago area had expressed reluctance to compete against an interim candidate. Both had suggested salaries above what the board had expected.
Gammon has been serving as interim director since January when former director Lucienne Pears left to work on private sector development for Kitson and Partners and Babcock Ranch.
Asked about being offered the job as the only remaining candidate, Gammon told the Sun, “It’s just the way it is.”
The board’s decision helps his staff in economic development, he said.
“It makes it solid for our office. Our office had to struggle through this process,” he said.
What commissioners say about their choice:
"Very frankly, I've been a little bit overwhelmed by the unsolicited signs of support I've gotten for Mr. Gammon to be made permanent in that position." - Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch
"We've seen Mr. Gammon perform for six months now. I haven't seen a diminution in the effort or in the profile of economic development. In fact, I think there's been an improvement." - Commissioner Christopher Constance
"I've received some negative as well as positive. I think Mr. Gammon knows that there are some folks out there that are not totally pleased with his performance." - Commission Chair Ken Doherty
"He knows the importance of the involvement of the business community no matter what section that is... I think this is a proper step." - Commissioner Bill Truex
"He's shown me he can step up to the plate, pick up these projects and try to keep things moving." - Commissioner Joe Tiseo
"I think Dave comes with a very positive attitude. Through all this adversity he keeps smiling. He keeps coming in to the office with energy and enthusiasm. He takes good direction, but he also gives really good feedback...I think he's been very deft at dealing with issues dealing with personalities." - Commissioner Chris Constance
Commissioner Chris Constance on not seeking input from other staff:
"That was a mistake...but after hearing that input, I really feel as though we have our economic developer in place."
Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch on why the commission kept looking for an outside candidate:
"I think some of us may have wanted somebody with 100 years of economic development experience or a different kind of track record or bring something from international...Very frankly, somebody's Wall Street experience or international experience, I'm not sure how relevant that was to being a good economic development director for Charlotte County."
Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Mathis:
"I'm a big believer of promoting from within...I like that he's involved with my members and my board...I know we'll be able to work with him."