By NATHAN GREGORY
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership Board of Trustees voted to accept GSDP President and CEO Jon Maynard’s resignation effective immediately Wednesday.
Maynard had served in the position since October of 2008. GSDP Chief Operating Officer and vice president for tourism Jennifer Gregory will serve as the group’s main point of contact on an interim basis in his absence.
When contacted by SDN, Maynard declined to comment any further on his resignation than what the official GSDP press release reported.
GSDP Board of Trustees Chair Steve Langston said Maynard did not cite any reasons for his resignation.
“Jon has done a great job at the partnership. We appreciate what he’s done in the years he’s been here,” Langston said. “We wish him the best in what the future holds.”
Langston said the board has authorized its executive committee to “look at the avenues to get a replacement.”
“We’ll leave no stone unturned in visiting with partners and investors (in asking for input). It’s impossible to say how that will go just yet,” he said. “This has all been sudden, but we’re excited for (Maynard’s) opportunities and we want to look at it as an opportunity for the partnership.”
Langston said Maynard has offered his assistance in continuing business ventures started under his tenure.
“Jon has offered the utmost cooperation with myself and with Jennifer and ... other partners that might be involved,” he said. “It’s just a blessing that he would do that. We don’t anticipate dropping any balls.”
Langston said he does not yet know whether the board will conduct a search internally to find a replacement or whether it plans to ask for outside consulting.
“That’s ... one of the avenues we’re going to explore. Obviously there are groups that do this for a living,” he said. “We’re going to look at all those options and see how quickly we can come to a consensus.”
GSDP officials would not comment on Maynard’s salary or what a potential replacement would make. Gregory said the position is funded through the general partnership budget which includes revenues from memberships, investments and management contracts with the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Agency and the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We, as a staff, will maintain our everyday duties and continue to work and achieve the goals as set by the partnership,” Gregory said.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the relationship between GSDP and the city is crucial in putting together public and private support needed for potential development projects in the community — particularly industrial development — and Maynard’s replacement will need to have previous experience and success in that realm.
Wiseman said the city has traditionally made an annual $20,000 contribution to the partnership, and the partnership has two entities within the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority that directs a 2-percent public tax revenue to the partnership.
Columbus Lowndes Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said he enjoyed collaborating with Maynard on Golden-Triangle-Area related projects and is surprised to see his exit.
“This business is kind of like football or basketball coaching (in that) it’s a small fraternity,” Higgins said. “I hope he and his family have a plan because I like Jon and I think he’s a good man.”
News Editor Carl Smith contributed to this report.