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Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:10

Jackson commissioners faced with resigning EDC members

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Four of the nine members on the Jackson County Economic Development Commission have resigned in the past month, signaling growing frustration among a board that lacks clear direction from the county commissioners.

The director of the EDC had already resigned this summer, and on her way out, she called the EDC board and its relationship with the county dysfunctional. Her parting recommendation was to dissolve the EDC and create a new entity. The current EDC continued to be haunted by old baggage and controversy, including a power struggle with the county.

The EDC board complained this summer that it had no real authority but had been relegated to a mere advisory role, and furthermore, the county didn’t seem interested in its advice. The county provides the lion’s share of funding for the EDC, however, and saw no problem with the entity serving in an advisory-only capacity.

The county commissioners had shown no movement to acknowledge the concerns nor hire a replacement EDC director, prompting the resignations.

“The county administration has more or less taken over the work of the Economic Development Commission,” Attorney Jay Coward wrote in his resignation letter, adding that he “cannot justify further participation.”

The county commissioners are planning to talk about a new strategy for the economic development commission during a workshop in December.

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