City without economic development director

Published 11:07 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Jennifer Shrader


City of LaGrange economic development projects are now under the care of Scott Malone, president of the Development Authority of LaGrange, after the city’s economic developer left last week.


The circumstances of Mike Criddle’s departure were unclear Monday, but LaGrange City Manager Meg Kelsey confirmed Friday that Criddle is no longer employed with the city. She spoke on the topic again Monday at the regular joint meeting of the Development Authority of LaGrange and Troup County Development Authority.


“The work we are doing on economic development will continue without interruption,” she said. “Economic development is and always has been a top priority for the city.”


Kelsey said Malone agreed to help the city out for the time being, along with city staff.


Malone, who has been president of the Development Authority of LaGrange since February 2016, said the only city-led project he hasn’t been directly involved with already is the construction of Great Wolf Lodge and Spa. He recently took a tour of the construction site to get caught up on the project.


Criddle was initially hired by the city in 2006 to be the Kia project manager when the automaker and its suppliers were coming to the area. In 2009 he was named economic developer, which not only included regular economic development projects, but also being the point-man for the city for West Point Lake issues.


A call to Criddle was not returned Monday.


Kelsey said Malone’s help would be on an interim basis until the city has a chance to evaluate the economic developer job.


“We may hire someone else or restructure,” she said. “When we lose a member of the team we always take a step back and evaluate. Tom (Hall, former city manager) used that strategy for 20 years and it’s one I plan to continue.”