The Centre/South Main Streets (CSMS) board of directors has announced that Executive Director Kevin Johnson has stepped down from his position for personal reasons, leaving the organization leaderless yet again. CSMS is a business promotion organization.
Johnson served as executive director JPCSMS for just four weeks before resigning. Board president Brad Brown said that Johnson’s resignation was a shock to him and the board. Johnson was hired in late 2016 after a long stint of the organization not having an executive director. The previous director had left the organization in 2014.
“We appreciate Kevin’s enthusiasm for the JP community and for our Main Streets district, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Brown said.
Johnson did not respond to a request for comment.
The City didn’t allow the CSMS to hire a director until they took care of some paperwork issues due to mismanagement from previous administrations, according to Brown. The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization so it doesn’t have to pay most taxes, but it does still have to file tax returns, which weren’t completed, along with some other paperwork. Brown said it took about a year to finish that process of paperwork, and CSMS now has a secretary responsible for it in the future.
In terms of the future of the organization, Brown said the board will be conducting interviews again, looking first at some other candidates they turned down for the position in the hiring round when Johnson was chosen.
“There are some slim pickings out there,” Brown said. “It took a while to find candidates that had any type of experience that we could use; many people didn’t have the proper experience that we were looking for.”
Before Johnson was hired, a candidate was selected for the role, but decided not to accept the position.
While some businesses have expressed frustration with the lack of leadership in the organization, Brown says that CSMS is still a leading source of support for businesses in the community, offering technical assistance and a storefront improvement program.
“We look forward to bringing on new talent, and hope to be able to make an announcement soon. In the meantime, we will be focused on reinvigorating the district with events such as First Thursdays and Screen on the Green,” said Brown. “We remain committed to strengthening JP’s cultural vibrancy and diversity, supporting our thriving small businesses, and working to partner with other Main Streets districts to promote a cohesive JP community.”