Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority searches for new CEO

Chris Dudley is chairman of the Downtown Improvement Authority board.
Photo Submitted by Alea Williams.

The board for Tallahassee’s Downtown Improvement Authority met Monday to discuss and adopt the CEO job description, which will be advertised as soon as possible.

The previous CEO, Paige Carter-Smith, resigned last month after she was indicted on 44 counts in a long-simmering federal investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee.

“I think she needed to resign because of the indictment and her upcoming criminal trial,” board member Cynthia Tunnicliff said.

The chairman of the board was less inclined to talk about Carter-Smith’s legal challenges.

“I don’t really have any comment, about the legal issues that unfortunately Paige is going to have to work through,” said Chris Dudley, chairman of the board.

Both Carter-Smith and former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox are facing 44 counts of racketeering, bank fraud, extortion, making false statements to financial institutions and other charges.

No one on the board is paid. Its members are all volunteers with a requirement of owning property in the downtown area. The paid positions include the CEO and the deputy director.

Monday’s meeting involved some changes to the upcoming CEO’s job description.

“They wanted to make sure that the executive director understood that this is a full-time position. But they also wanted someone who has some interest in understanding in urban planning and business administration. Those are two things that broaden the experience of what they are looking for,” said Allen Thompson, director of experience for the board.

Dudley added, “We made some changes to the educational qualifications, we certainly put some preferences in for people that people had a background in marketing and communications and urban planning and public administration.. Being able to substitute real world experience for some of that as well.”

The board members elaborated more on what they expect from the new CEO and how he or she could affect Tallahassee.

Dudley mentioned that he wants the CEO to bring more business opportunities to Tallahassee including retail and restaurants.

“First off, I have to say, I think it is an amazing job, really having the opportunity to become the face of Downtown … I certainly would like to see someone that is passionate about the downtown core. Who wants to advocate for this kind of live, work, play environment that we are trying to create down here … It’s a blank slate right now and I’m looking forward finding someone for that position,” Dudley said.

“I think we’re going to have a lot of really good candidates that are going to apply for the job. We have some really talented people in Tallahassee, so I think we have a real opportunity to get some real traction and putting on some new events and making a brand-new Tallahassee.”

The timeline has been approved and job applications will be accepted until Feb. 7; the board is expecting to have a new CEO in place by April.