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Committee ousts economic developer; no reason given

GREENVILLE — Members of the executive committee of the Washington County Delta Economic Development Center won’t say why the organization’s CEO, Larry Jones, was ousted last week.

The Delta Democrat Times reports Jones held the job for 15 months. He replaced Ed Johnson who was released in June 2010 after almost two years of service.

Center chairman Dave Clarke did not return messages seeking comment.

Committee member Paul Watson Jr. said the organization has a contract with all employees. He said the center was under no obligation to disclose why any employee had been released.

“Larry (Jones) and the company had a contract together … and it was a mutual agreement,” said Watson. “What we must look at is the next hire, and possibly getting a hometown person. You have to look at the last two people hired were not from the area,” he said.

“Right now we are kind of in a holding pattern, and we will see where we go from here,” he said.

Watson said similar organizations in northern Mississippi employ a three-county consortium approach, though he was unsure that would work in Washington County.

“We all must adjust and do what is best for Greenville and the county,” he said.

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