It’s been a key hiring period for the city of Mitchell.
Last week, Mayor Bob Everson announced his pick for a new public safety director, selecting Glen Still, a 35-year law enforcement veteran from Fremont, Nebraska, who has experience as a police officer, EMT and firefighter.
Similarly, we are watching with interest the city’s hire for a new Corn Palace director. By all accounts, Scott Schmidt did a solid job of leading the Corn Palace for three years. But it’s expected that the new person to hold the job will be asked to continue to drive the Corn Palace as a leading entertainment option in our community.
It is not as grueling or even as important as the public safety chief job, but the Corn Palace director job is as closely scrutinized. Mitchell residents have a vested interest in the facility, and we all know that if the Corn Palace does well, the community does well, too. As we’ve touched on previously, everyone has an opinion on shows at the venue, which events should be coming to town and how to motivate people to attend those events.
And thinking about the Corn Palace as an event venue only, it’s a hard job. The building is always going to be configured as a basketball arena, which limits altering seating options. It has a permanent stage, which might not always work with what entertainers require for their shows.
In the summer months, it houses a gift shop, which means no shows or other large events can take place. Of course, that is prime tourist season, which means it’s probably a worthwhile summertime trade for the community.
Officially, the city is advertising for someone who will pursue and promote events ranging from tourism, education, athletics and entertainment. The position is also geared toward “insuring (sic) that the Corn Palace maintains it’s (sic) reputation as an Iconic Historic Building with modern amenities to attract all generations and interest groups is a goal.” The starting wage listed on the job application is $79,963 annually.
The last four people to hold the Corn Palace director position all lived in Mitchell or had deep Mitchell ties. But having an individual without connections to Mitchell — who can see the Corn Palace’s strengths and weaknesses clearly — would not be a bad attribute with this hire.
In the case of Still and a number of recently hired, key city leadership positions, the final selections have been individuals from outside the region. That’s important for Mitchell. Picking the best candidate, no matter where they’re from, should be the highest priority. Hopefully, any Mitchell ties would be only an added bonus to an already well-qualified candidate.
The Corn Palace director role is a difficult job to do, and probably a difficult job to fill, as well. Finding a top professional with a clear, smart vision for the venue is the top priority.