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Head of Jeffco EDC resigns after seven months

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By Sal Christ

Seven months after he was appointed to the role of president and CEO of the Jeffco Economic Development Corp., Sam Bailey has resigned to join the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. as vice president of economic development.
Formally announced July 26, Bailey’s decision to exit the organization after less than a year came as a shock and surprise to the EDC’s board of directors and staff.
“It was a big surprise to us,” said board chairman Tom Currigan. “You never want to hire a CEO and then have to do it again six-and-a-half months later. However, Sam’s a young, talented professional, and we knew that when we hired him. You go through these processes when you hire someone, you know? You’re rolling the dice and hoping you can hang on to them for longer than six months.”
While Bailey’s official resignation date was Aug. 4, Currigan said the board gave him permission to stop performing his duties after July 26 on the grounds that Bailey had a strong staff reporting to him that is capable of keeping the shop running.
Bailey was appointed to the role of president and CEO last December following an exhaustive nine-month search that began after longtime CEO and former Jeffco county commissioner Kevin McCasky resigned without explanation in March 2016. Then-board chairman John Moore said in a released statement that the organization was excited to bring Bailey on and believed he had the expertise to take the EDC to the next level.
“We are very excited to have an experienced, energetic and well-established professional take over leadership of our organization,” said Moore. “Sam also opens the doors to many opportunities for Jefferson County through strong relationships he developed in his former role (with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade), across the globe and across the state of Colorado.”
While Currigan acknowledged that the last 18 months have been bumpy where the EDC’s top leadership is concerned, he said it doesn’t reflect the health of the Golden-based nonprofit or those running the organization.
“While everybody is not welcoming the opportunity to go through this process again, we’re in a much stronger place to go through another search,” said Currigan. “The staff is strong; the board is committed. Within about 24 hours after his resignation, we had a transition structure and plan in place. … A lot of folks think this reflects internal issues, but I want to convey that never in my time on the board, which spans seven to eight years, have I seen a more committed board and staff. We’re in a strong place.”
Currigan said that Leigh Seeger, vice president of economic development, has been appointed interim CEO while the organization conducts a national search for Bailey’s replacement.