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October 19--  The Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority will have a new president starting January 1.

The boards of the two two organizations held a joint meeting Thursday and approved the recommendation of a search committee to name Michelle Johnson to succeed Bill Mitchell when he retires the end of the year.

chamber(L-R) Chamber Chair Ginger Morris, Michelle Johnson, Development Authority Chair Tommy Rollins.

Johnson is the Executive Vice-President of the Development Authority and has been working at the chamber for the past 15 years.

Development Authority Chairman Tommy Rollins says she's the best fit among nine candidates who applied for the job, "From the resumes we received and the committee's selection process, we think Michelle is going to be the best fit for our community."

His sentiments were echoed by Chamber Board Chairman Ginger Morris, "The beauty of this Chamber and the Development Authority is their idea that they work together.  We wanted to make sure we had a person who could see the Development Authority side to help grow our community and the Chamber side to meet the needs of our businesses and she just fit that bill."

Bill Mitchell and Michelle Johnson worked together at Oxford many years ago and he's confident in her abilities, "I think Michelle will do a great job.  She's got a learning curve as it relates to leaving what she does now and taking over the operations of both the Chamber and the Development Authority, but she's capable of doing it."

For her part, Michelle thanked both boards for their confidence and promises continued growth and innovation, "I want to try some new things and we're looking at several progams and ideas at our board retreat in November and, hopefully, we'll get to implement some of those ideas.  One thing we've been really good at is involving our local partners, the local governments, the technical colleges, the utilities and state partners.  I see a lot of opportunities to keep partnering with those folks to offer more programs to improve the economic development in our area," she said.

One of the budgets Johnson will be managing is the one mil of tax the Toombs County Commission provides each year for economic development.  The Commission approved the allocation of $665,000 at a called meeting earlier this month.