LONGMONT — The Longmont Area Economic Council has resumed its search for a new president after pausing recruitment late last year while the LAEC and city hashed out how the two would combine their economic development efforts.

Andy Bade – chairman of the LAEC board of directors and executive director of business services at Amgen Colorado – made the announcement in an e-mail sent to LAEC partners and investors Wednesday morning.

In the letter, Bade said the LAEC and city have made “good progress” in working out the details of merging their efforts, and that he anticipates a new contract between the two would be presented to city council in early April.

Former LAEC president John Cody left the organization in August to be director of economic development for the city of Thornton. A search committee had narrowed the candidate field for his replacement to three before consolidation negotiations began with the city and the hiring process put on hold in December.

Bade said in his letter that several candidates identified in the original search for a president have been contacted about the “changing nature of the search. All were enthusiastic about the potential changes and remain interested.”

The consolidation idea came out of a Targeted Industry Analysis conducted for the city and the LAEC by Avalanche Consulting that was charged with suggesting the best way to conduct economic development efforts in the city. One of the study’s findings was that economic development “would benefit from consolidating services under one organization to avoid business confusion and streamline operations,” as Bade put it in his letter Wednesday.

The LAEC has been primarily focused on recruiting and retaining primary employers, or those whose goods and services are sold outside the city and which generate higher-paying jobs. The city’s programs have been geared toward helping smaller businesses, particularly retailers.

The Avalanche Consulting study led to the city and LAEC exploring how best to place most of the city’s efforts under the umbrella of the LAEC, a public-private partnership that currently receives about half of its funding from the city and the rest from private companies.