Rolando CEO

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rolando CEO: jobs coming this month

By Billy Davis
The long-promised opening of Rolando Curtis Foods is apparently getting closer.   

Panola County supervisors Monday heard an assurance of full-time job hirings before the end of May, beginning with a crew of 15 workers who will help set up the stainless steel equipment for production.

The promise came from Rolando CEO Roland Butler, who described a joint effort with the WIN Job Center to interview and hire applicants. The interviewing will begin next week and the hiring the week after, he said. The facility will produce and package water, coffee and rice.

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Appearing at the board’s First District meeting, Butler appeared on the same day that supervisors had agreed to address the long-delayed opening of Rolando.

Butler has held a deed to the property since May 2006 and over time has promised opening dates only to follow with various reasons the opening date came and went. He came Monday with still another reason: the federal Environmental Protection Agency required permits before allowing Rolando to operate.  

Butler did not directly apologize for the delayed opening of the plant Monday but did acknowledge the high unemployment and poverty in and around the town of Crenshaw.

“Those jobs are badly needed,” the CEO acknowledged. He suggested, however, that previous hirings at the plant have put “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in payroll checks into the Crenshaw economy.

Butler did not say who benefited from that amount of payroll checks, but Rolando’s hirings over the past year have included a skeleton work crew and office workers.

Responding to Butler, supervisors complimented the plant CEO on the appearance of the facility after its renovation.

“It looks good,” said Supervisor James Birge.

“It looks a thousand times better than it did,” agreed Supervisor Gary Thompson.

Supervisors did not address Butler’s past-due property taxes, which last week totaled $17,921.58, even when Butler suggested that the opening of Rolando brings a “tax base” to Crenshaw.

A search of tax records last week by The Panolian revealed Butler’s past-due taxes.

“We want to be a good corporate citizens,” Butler told the board as he departed the meeting.