Council considers a takeover of the EDA. Good idea?

Northfield EDA

In today’s Nfld News: Council may take on EDA powers.

In a last-minute move, Councilor Erica Zweifel Tuesday asked the City Council to consider transferring power from the Economic Development Authority to the council… Councilor Betsey Buckheit supported Zweifel’s query, noting that she’s concerned about the EDA’s work and its expenditures. If the EDA’s responsibilities are taken over by the council, Buckheit wondered if the city could realize efficiencies in time and money… Personalities, Buckheit said, weren’t her concern. Instead she worries that the EDA is setting policy, but isn’t accountable to the taxpayers.

See more background on the EDA and current members on the City of Northfield’s Economic Development Authority web page.

86 thoughts on “Council considers a takeover of the EDA. Good idea?”

  1. Nfld News: EDA indecision taking its toll

    The City Council’s seven-month long discussion over what to do with the Economic Development Authority has Rick Estenson wringing his hands.

    “I think we’re all a little frustrated with the process,” said the EDA member. “I still don’t quite understand what we’ve done or not done that some members of the City Council are so upset with that they feel we’re out of line.”

  2. Nfld News: Northfield EDA remains, but changes are coming

    A 4-3 vote by the City Council Tuesday reaffirmed that future is uncertain for the board that has limped along for months.
    Following a failed motion by Councilor Patrick Ganey to set a date for a public hearing to dissolve the EDA, Councilor Suzie Nakasian headed for what she called a middle ground.

    Nakasian’s motion keeps the EDA in tact while directing the mayor to appoint a committee to consider changes to the foundation of the EDA as well look at its role, responsibilities and processes in working with the council. Recommended changes would assure the EDA’s work aligns with the findings in a March consultant’s report on the group.

  3. KYMN: Council votes to retain EDA

    As part of the approved motion, the council shall appoint a sub-committee of the council to recommend changes to the EDA enabling resolution needed to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the EDA in relation to the city council, as per the findings of the Tom Clough report.

    Mayor Mary Rossing, Rhonda Pownell, Kris Vohs and Suzie Nakasian voted in favor of the motion. Patrick Ganey, Betsey Buckheit and Erica Zweifel voted against it.

  4. From doing the Council observing for many years, and especially after watching last night’s meeting, I am really disturbed by good intentions going astray.

    As far as I’m concerned, the last 7 months of intense discussion might as well not have happened, and the relationship between the Council and the EDA is back at Square 1.
    What a waste of time and energy, as it finally played out.
    The Council did not need to go through these last 7 months of discussion about the EDA’s process, to have the important parallel policy discussion establishing their economic development philosophy and priorities.
    That could have been done, regardless of any smoldering dissatisfaction with the EDA.

    They will have to begin at the beginning to straighten out the basic mess that has been created by non- compliance with the governing statutes, and the misapplication of the powers of the executive committee. Those procedural dynamics are not changed by the Council’s policy discussion.

    I do not see how this is a more effective process than saying… look, we are going to begin over by repealing the enabling ordinance, and the first thing we are going to do is structure an EDA which complies with every one of the governing state statutes. That is the base structure which we will set up, and then build from there as to specific governance… going on to apply the Council’s newly expressed ideas about flexible economic development: the Big and the Small pictures working together.

    The motion brought by Councilor Ganey was so ‘clean’: start over and do it right from the ground up.
    I’m sorry, but I do not see this as anything but a ‘feel-good’ position which will be difficult to clarify with the existing dynamics intact.

    What’s the next step? The Mayor brings back her appointments, they are not unilaterally approved, and the whole thing starts over?
    What if the subcommittee recommends repealing the enabling ordinance and starting over?
    November, 2010, redux…

  5. After watching the EDA for the last two+ years, and being conversant with the Council subcommittee’s work to address what they saw as problems with the EDA function, I decided to go to the EDA meeting this AM, to hear the discussion in which EDA members had the opportunity to discuss with the CC subcommittee the newly consolidated documents into 1 broad governing document, a new ‘Enabling Ordinance Plus’.

    It is astounding to hear some of the problems that have been addressed/questioned by what were called the minority members, still percolating.
    For example: How is the question of Councilor Pownell’s position on the EDA to be addressed? With differing opinions about the need for reappointment when a Councilor has been re-elected… rather than just being in a ‘carry-over’ status… which is addressed in the new document, and ‘carry over’is not supported; re-appointment must occur…
    So how is that to be addressed now, or is it left as is for now and readdressed in the future? A mess, to be sure…

    The Council member on the EDA, Ms Pownelll, said she was not aware of some fiscal responsibilities, example: to be a co-signer of checks; yet that had been brought up repeatedly, and is a statutory requirement. Doest that mean that this EDA/CC member has not read the EDA governing statutes?
    Whose responsibility is it that this statutory requirement has been ignored for so long?

    Another EDA Board member,Jack Hoschouer, told the CC subcommittee that he had not read their document enough to comment to them today, but would do so in a day or two.

    Then it was suggested that subcommittee work be done by 1-2 people, reporting back to the full board, but the EDA Vice President questioned whether this would provide enough diversity of input, and even when brought back to the full board would there be time for full discussion and approval of the work of such a small component of the whole.
    It had been expressed at the Council level that the overriding influence of the EDA’s former Executive Committee, on the Board as a whole, was a problem; how is this suggestion of such a small subcommittee not exhibiting the potential of the same problem?

    A new city-wide loan program is being investigated and there was no public info on that, although an info sheet was mentioned. How can a ‘committee’ of one (an impossibility by definition), which is all that seems to be mentioned as working on this so far, be a correct way for an economic development board to develop a new loan program?

    The Council Subcommittee has worked very hard to develop a strong guiding document, but although it may provide a better structure for the future, once again, current in place ‘improprieties’ are not corrected; and it is unclear when they will be corrected.

    A lot of very hard work, with a disappointing practical outcome, at least for the present .

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