Carlyle, Association agree to separation

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By Gregory Orear

RED OAK — A few days after a couple Chamber and Industry Association investors met with board members to discuss leadership concerns, Executive Director Darrell Steven Carlyle has resigned.

During a closed session during the Associations regular monthly meeting last week, Carlyle and the Board agreed to a separation agreement that includes a month’s severance pay. Carlyle’s last day with the Association will be July 15.  

Association President Kristie Konz described the closed meeting as “amicable,” adding the separation agreement was approved unanimously.

However, that doesn’t mean Konz was pleased with the outcome.

“I would rather he not leave, but I understand,” she said in an interview with the Red Oak Express. “I thought he did a good job, but there were people who didn’t think he was and that made it more difficult for him.”

Board members Kara Sherman and Chad Johnson met with some of those unhappy investors at a June 6 meeting and agreed to address those concerns with the rest of the board Tuesday.

However, Carlyle made that discussion unnecessary when he informed the board of his desire to step down from the Executive Director position he has held for more than three years.

“I think I have done the best I can for the community of Red Oak,” Carlyle said about his decision to leave. “I feel it was time for me professionally to move my skill set to a different path.”

A former City Administrator, Carlyle has been named a finalist for a similar position in Centerville and Wilcox, Ariz.

Some of the achievements Carlyle said he is most proud include the obvious such as recruiting a DirecTV call center and Omaha-based American Hydraulics, as well as convincing Shopko store officials to reconsider their decision to close the recently-purchased Pamida instead of converting it to the new format.

“To this date, they (Red Oak Shopko) is one of the strongest stores in the region,“ Carlyle said. “So it went from a potential big empty box to one of the most successful stores in the region.”

Carlyle also noted other less visible achievements, such as the revival of the Downtown Urban Renewal board, which is providing thousands of dollars for projects such as façade replacements and the development of an in-house promotional project.

“I’m very proud of when I first came on staff, the chamber of commerce and industrial foundation had no marketing materials,” he said. “To this date, most all materials we use to market this community is done in house … so everything we use is kept current. We are constantly freshening our materials. That is something we never had before.”

Having that kind of current, up-to-date promotional materials is essential to a community’s economic recruitment efforts, Carlyle said.

“If we want to be considered a progressive community, we need progressive marketing materials,” he said. “That is at the heart of economic development.”