LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - The city of Lee's Summit, Mo., is trying to find its identity. Officials hope creating a new marketing position will bring more business and jobs to the area.
But some residents question whether the salary allotted for the position could be spent in better ways.
The city council voted to create the brand manager position on Oct. 18. The $80,000 salary will be funded by the city, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Committee.
"It's very important to us that we have one consistent message that's going out," explained Nancy Bruns, president of the Chamber of Commerce.
The city partnered with the chamber to make the hire.
"We really see this as a collaborative community branding, not just for the city of Lee's Summit, but for the whole community," she said.
Councilman Bob Johnson was one of two who voted against creating the new position, but not because he is against marketing the city.
"I want performance measurements. We do not have them in the agreement," Johnson said.
He said he wants the council to consider a way to measure the brand manager's success at the end of each fiscal year.
"This is another situation where a group of citizens, special interest citizens, want the taxpayers to pay for a program," Johnson said. "At some point, we need to say no to these requests."
Some citizens worry the salary would keep the city from filling other open positions, like police officers. City officials said that isn't the case.
"Typically, we have six or seven open positions around the year, and we're constantly recruiting," said City Manager Stephen Argo. "And also, frankly, we hire tough."
Businesses are split between hope and skepticism.
"It would bring a lot more people here on a regular basis, and we already have a lot of traffic," said Judee Rettler, owner of Scrapbook Boutique. "I think it would just build on that."
But David Hunter, manager of Bike America, said the return on the new identity will have to match the large investment.
"I think $80,000 right now, in this economy, is a lot of money to be just throwing around for a brand," Hunter said. "I hope it works because ultimately, I would like to see my store make more money, but again it's a lot of money."
The chamber expects to start interviews in the next couple weeks, and plans to have the brand manager in place by the end of the year. The city will reevaluate the position in June 2013.
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