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EDC Selects New Chairman

Patrick Gilbert has been elected chairman of the Giles County Economic Development Commission, replacing Richard Kelley, who resigned to work in Maury County.

Also, May 26, Pulaski Mayor Pat Ford was re-elected vice chairman and Bobby Wynne was chosen to another term as secretary-treasurer.

Gilbert replaces as chairman Kelley, who resigned as chief operating officer at Pulaski Electric System to take a similar position at Columbia Power and Water Systems.

Gilbert, Ford and Wynne were elected unanimously.

Gilbert thanked EDC members for their confidence, and said he hoped to see the county progress.

Scott Newton is serving as interim director of PES. He is also a member of the EDC board.

Giles County’s latest jobless rate was 4.8 percent, David Hamilton, executive director of the county EDC, said.

Finding enough workers continues to be a challenge throughout the country and this area, he said.

“We can’t get people to go back to work, but I think that’s about to change,” Hamilton said.

Extra benefits given the jobless, among them those who lost their jobs due to the Covid 19 pandemic, are about to be reduced, he said. This has discouraged some from going back to work, Hamilton said.

In its recently ended session, the Tennessee State Legislature passed bills to reduce the number of weeks of unemployment compensation that could be claimed while increasing the weekly benefits. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also said the state no longer would take advantage of a federal program offering extra benefits for those who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

Effects of these changes may start to be noticed in July or August, he said.

Also influencing hiring in Giles and other adjacent counties is economic development in Huntsville , Ala., and adjacent cities and counties in that state, Hamilton said,

Among the larger developments is the Toyota Mazda manufacturing plant between Huntsville and Athens, Ala., which could employ thousands, not counting those in related industries.

In other business:

• PES continues looking for ways to expand broadband services in Giles County, Newton said.

Minor Hill seems to be the most promising area to qualify for the service, and Newton said an outside company has been contacted to help PES find others and to help find funding.

• A splash pad to replace the swimming pool at the Pulaski Recreation and Community Center is expected to open Aug 1, Pulaski Mayor Pat Ford said in another item of community interest.

• Activities are planned on campus and around the Courthouse starting June 30 when Martin Methodist College officially becomes the University of Tennessee Southern on July 1, Ford said.

• In an update, Hamilton said that a project for a Korean manufacturing concern to use the former Timken building in Pulaski had fallen through. Also, inquiries on buying land adjacent to some Frito-Lay property have gone nowhere, he said.

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