The UCDD and UCHRA are currently in talks for a potential merger.
The UCHRA search committee placed the search for a new executive director on hold Friday morning while the potential merger is being discussed.
Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes is a member of the search committee. He said discussions with interim director Mark Farley about a merger have been promising.
“I believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Hayes said. “I believe Mr. Farley has done a pretty good job, but that’s just me.”
Farley, who currently serves as the director of the UCDD, said a merger could be beneficial to the two organizations.
“I think it’s worth looking at if nothing else to determine… if it can happen and what it would look like,” Farley said, “if for no other reason, down the road, we don’t have this same discussion.”
White County Executive Denny Robinson said merging the two organizations raises the stakes of finding a new director.
“If we combine this, it’s done. What if Mark isn’t here 30 to 40 years,” Robinson said. “If we get the wrong person in charge of this, it magnifies what could go wrong. We’ve had stuff go wrong here but this means you’re doubling it.”
Committee Chairman Greg Wilson said the group will look into the potential effects the merger may have on the two organizations.
“I think the merger would look at some potential savings for the people of the Upper Cumberland,” Wilson said. “The concerns we have are the legal aspects of it. We want ot make sure everything is covered. Number three is we want to make sure the employees of UCHRA and UCDD are provided the continuity of their pay and their benefits.”
Farley, City Attorney Dan Rader, and Tennessee Tech officials will study the potential pros and cons of a merger.
A report will be presented to the search committee at the completion of the merger study.