SOPA to meet Saturday to potentially pick director

By Wayne Allen

November 13, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

Members of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) are scheduled to meet Saturday to officially offer the position of Executive Director to Columbus Attorney Jason Kester.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not even confident he (Kester) will accept, but we’re going to offer it,” said Todd Book, Chairman of SOPA. “He’s got stuff going on in Columbus and I don’t know if he will be in a position to say yea or nay on Saturday and I hate to put that pressure on him.”

Kester, of Grove City, Ohio, attended Capital University Law School, Miami University and Shawnee State University. He is a member of the Ohio Army National Guard and is working as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney at Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney.

When asked if Kester is scheduled to meet with the board on Saturday, Book said he could not confirm or deny that.

“We’re still in the process and as I’ve said before the Port Authority authorized the executive committee to negotiate and we are still in that process,” Book said. “We’re hoping to have an answer relativity soon. But trying to make the schedules work with everyone to make this come to a head.”

When asked about the meeting on Saturday, SOPA Vice Chairman Rodney Barnett said, “The gentleman that will be offered the position may not be available that day. I hesitate to say yes (to confirm a meeting on Saturday), but that was the desire of the executive committee.”

Barnett said Kester is the finalist for the job.

“I don’t know why there is a meeting Saturday, they’ve looked it over and narrowed it to one (Kester). Now they are looking at the package as to salary, benefits and so forth,” Barnett said.

SOPA’s Rules and Regulations outlines that the executive director shall, “Submit plan and programs for the board economic development activities. Develop a program for promotion and public relations of the Southern Ohio Port Authority. Develop and carry out a program to promote and publicize the advantages of the Southern Ohio Port Authority to the rail, barge shippers, trucking companies, importers and exporters and other agencies using the shipping capabilities of southern Ohio. Seek, obtain and supervise the administration of grants, loans and other financial assistance from Federal, State and local sources to enhance Southern Ohio Port Authority programs, facilities and services.”

Based on the job description, the candidate must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, economics, finance, public administration or a related field. Experience with state, regional or local economic development is desired.

Salary is commensurate with qualification and job performance with a salary range from $45,000-$70,000.

Book said whoever is chosen as the executive director for SOPA would take his role as Economic Development Director for Scioto County.

“The county and most of the governmental entities in our community have an executive director-type person along with other duties. The commissioners realize they need this, to be effective, we (Scioto County) need someone who’s main purpose is economic development,” Book said.

For more information about SOPA visit them on Facebook.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.