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MDDC Board of Directors confirm director search process, Annapolis expansion

MDDC lobbyist Ellen Valentino agrees to expansion of government affairs position
MDDC President Paul Milton reported to the board of directors on Thursday, Nov. 14, that the search for a new executive director is proceeding, and the search committee hopes to have a candidate by January.

Milton told the quarterly meeting that he and incoming President Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, co-chairs of the search committee, had a conference call with recruiter Steve Braun to discuss four resumes that have been received so far. The search committee will review resumes and interview finalists for the job.

The plan is to conduct interviews with finalists in a month to six weeks. The new board’s first meeting will be Jan. 16, and Milton said he hopes to have chosen a replacement for retiring director Jack Murphy by then. Murphy will remain in place until the new director starts work.

Milton said the committee is still seeking qualified candidates, and asked that board members or member newspapers forward names of potential candidates to him or Fischer-Huettner. The job posting is available on the MDDC website.

In other actions, the board approved a budget of $559,684 for 2014 for the association and its for-profit subsidiary, MDDC Press Service, which is about $6,000 less than combined spending is expected to be this year.

The association will expand its office space at the Capital-Gazette Building in Annapolis, to add offices for all staff members. Since moving into the building in 2011, Murphy and two other staffers have worked primarily from home. It is expected that the new director will want the staff to work more from the office.

In other notes from the board meeting:

• Murphy reported that the sale of a fund-raising ad to support the MDDC Press Foundation’s summer internship program still has not taken place, and he requested that board members work with their ad directors to try to find a client to buy the ad. The internship program is supported primarily by a contribution from the association’s Classified Ad Network, but with sales falling, the network does not produce enough revenue to support the internships.
• Advertising Committee chair Suzanne Fischer-Huettner announced the committee has decided to make no changes to the categories for the 2013 Advertising Contest. The contest has been extensively revamped over the last three years, and the committee is now looking for consistency.
• Editorial Committee chairman Terry Headlee reported several changes in the editorial contest. The revolving category which changes each year depending on news developments will be for coverage of the Affordable Care Act. Some web categories which attracted few entries are being dropped. The contest deadline this year will be a week later, on Jan. 29.
• Government Affairs Committee chairman Jim McLaughlin reported that MDDC Lobbyist Ellen Valentino, who has covered Maryland and the District for seven years, has agreed to expand her duties and add Delaware representation.
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