Saturday, May 25, 2013

San Angelo Development Corporation Developments

The May 8 San Angelo Development Corporation minutes state a number of presentations "were made."  They don't include important details like:

1.  Three companies are in active discussions with the City for economic development assistance.

2.  City economic leaders are telling companies to bring their workers with them, so as not to upset local employers who don't want turnover or rising local wage rates.  How did Jerry Sea react to this statement given he spoke to the board in public comment, sharing his concern regarding increased cost of living for senior citizens?  I'll add the disabled on fixed incomes to the list of already impacted.  

How can the city justify using local tax dollars to "bring jobs" to San Angelo that local people have no shot at?  Other interesting developments include:

3.  Hirschfeld Wind's incentive and rebate request is with the city's legal department.  City staff treated this like a political hot potato, saying the barest minimum.  It raised questions as to why Hirschfeld's submission required additional legal scrutiny?

4.  The City's deal with Lucas Oil for off-road races in the Industrial Park has been pushed back a year or more.  The "numbers aren't working" for Lucas Oil, so it will be 2015, if ever, on the land based version of Showdown in San Angelo.

Lastly, there was a strange dance between the board and the interim leader on two issues, selecting a new Executive Director and setting their next meeting date.  I expected a City Human Resources professional to lay out a proposed process to the board, given the critical role the Executive Director will play in our community.  It would likely involve a subgroup of board members specifying criteria that could be used to rank candidates.  The door would be open for the board to adjust the process to better meet their needs.  This did not happen.

The interim director, who may or may not be a candidate for the position, suggested he and the only other employee narrow the list of sixty to a top ten.  The board seemed taken aback by the casualness of the proposal.  Selection of an Executive Director is significant board responsibility.  Given the last director left a bad taste in their mouth, the selection process matters.

The session closed with picking their next meeting date.. The interim director had a firm conflict with May 22nd, which turned into a significant obligation, before becoming something that could be rescheduled and eventually evaporating altogether.  While it's not a major item, just one paid staff member's time vs.six public minded citizens', this interchange didn't inspire confidence.  It strengthened my impulse to have more eyes reviewing the candidates.

I'll let you judge the state of economic development in our community.

Correction:  Anthony Wilson, Public Information Officer, shared the position discussed was "not the Executive Director but a development coordinator position, which would also manage the Concho Valley Center for Entrepreneurial Development. That's the job most recently held by Cindy Hartin."

The City posted the Economic Development Director position on 1-4-13 and the Economic Development Coordinator on 2-22-13.  Might a new Executive Director want to help select key staff members?

Update 5-26-13:  Call me slow given City Manager Daniel Valenzuela's pattern of promoting "interim's" to permanent job holders.  If the Interim Executive Director becomes permanent then he'll have selected his staff. 

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