Welcome back, Dwight!

I have no idea what the story is behind this, but I bet it's interesting. Seven months after resigning as the head of Economic Development for the Town of Chapel Hill and taking effectively the same position for the City of Raleigh, Dwight Basset has come back to his old job. I wonder how all those people who blamed his departure on Chapel Hill's supposed E.D. failings will interpret this? 

Personally I hope Bassett returns with some fresh ideas about local economies and especially about citizen particpation, which is one area where Chapel Hill has a lot to learn from Raleigh. 

Some highlights from the Town's announcement:

Dwight Bassett will return to the Town of Chapel Hill as Economic Development Officer (EDO) and part of the Town team devoted to policy and strategic initiatives supporting the goals of Chapel Hill 2020, Town Manager Roger Stancil announced today (Monday, Oct. 15).

The team focuses on strategic planning, economic development and sustainability. They work every day to integrate the thinking of Chapel Hill 2020, and all that was learned in the process of developing it, into how the Town of Chapel Hill does business. Chapel Hill 2020 focuses on bringing a successful balance to the vision of community character and economic growth.


Bassett was hired as Chapel Hill’s first Economic Development Officer in June 2007. He left in March 2012 to take a position with the City of Raleigh. During his successful tenure in Chapel Hill, Bassett created an economic development strategy, worked on market studies to benchmark the state of the community and led two small area planning initiatives. His work in Chapel Hill led to almost 2 million square feet of new non-residential development to be proposed in the last few years.


Bassett said: “The opportunity to come back to Chapel Hill and to participate in the benefits of the previous five years of work in Chapel Hill is really appealing. We work in economic development to pave the way for development projects that can help grow jobs and tax base and the results of my previous work is being seen in Chapel Hill. Relationships are a key component to successful work in any place and the realization that I had great working professionals that I could work with again seemed to make a strong statement to me.”


A rigorous recruitment and interview process for the position of the Chapel Hill Economic Development Officer included many economic partners, including Orange County, the Downtown Partnership, local business owners, UNC-Chapel Hill and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

“Although that process didn’t yield the right candidate, we did have a chance to refocus and refine what Chapel Hill’s needs are with our partners,” Stancil said. “We realized we are different. We are not a recruit-at-any-cost community, but we are interested in creating the strongest economic success story that keeps Chapel Hill vibrant and charming.” 

I wonder if the commute from his home in Graham was too much for him? Or maybe the Town's inability to find a replacement bought him some leverage and a higher salary. Then maybe he could move to Orange County!



I agree, I don't have any feelings one way or another about whether this is a good thing (I don't know Dwight Bassett personally, and I don't know much about him), but it is a little strange. By the same token, though, it may be that he decided he'd made a mistake and preferred his old job in Chapel Hill, and good for him for having the self-confidence to come back.


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