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We’re heading for several big changes

Change often cannot be easy. For some, in fact, it can be quite difficult and unwanted, but change comes whether we want it or not.

The Weirton community has seen more than its share of change over the years, with the rise and fall of the local steel industry, recent investment in the natural gas and oil industries, the comings and goings of various businesses and even community events.

The community is going through another form of change right now, and, depending on how it goes, it could have major effects on how we move forward, not just as a city but as a region.

In municipal government, there has been much change, as we have seen three city managers and two interim managers at the helm of city operations in the last year.

Moves have been made in other city posts, as well.

So many adjustments in such a short amount of time does have consequences, as with anywhere else. A municipality, as with any operation, needs stability. It needs steady leadership and a solid direction.

I’ve been told there is a plan to have a new city manager in place by early November. In the meantime, City Clerk DeeAnn Pulliam is also serving as the interim manager. I’ve known DeeAnn for a few years now, and I know she will do a good job over the next couple of months.

At the same time, it was announced Pat Ford will be leaving the Business Development Corp. for a new challenge in Kentucky. A new director for the BDC also is expected sometime in November.

Pat, of course, has been at the head of much of the economic development activity we’ve seen over the last 10 years. He has been active in promoting the Ohio Valley, and even the rest of West Virginia, around the world. He, and his wife, Alecia, also have been active members of the community.

There will be big shoes to fill in that area.

The Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau has been working without a director since June, although some of my sources say that soon could change. The CVB, of course, is responsible for marketing Hancock and Brooke counties in tourism circles, promoting our events and towns, and attracting visitors.

These are all critical positions in our area, and it can be tough enough when one is vacant. To have so many at one time can create a real problem. Fortunately, people have been willing to step up to make certain these losses aren’t felt too much.

In order to move forward, we need to have good leadership in our area. We need individuals who will work for the greater good, and not for selfish reasons; those who seek improvements for the community and not glory for themselves.

We need individuals who will work to build up our economy, promote our area to those outside and make sure all of the moving and interconnected parts continue to function the way they were designed.

Our region has been doing pretty well in some areas, but could use a push in others. Let’s hope whomever is placed into these roles in the coming months is able to keep the momentum going, building off of what has been done already and pushing us to greater heights.

The changes we face will be difficult in many ways. There will be challenges, but we have overcome challenges before and we will do it again.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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