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Call it a day for EDC

Is it time to put a stake through the heart of the city’s Economic Development Commission?

The commission, established by the Keizer City Council in 2014, has not met on its original quarterly schedule; many times there are up to five members absent from sessions. This is no way to run a city commission.

The Economic Development Commission, headed by Mayor Cathy Clark, serves in an advisory capacity to the city council and is charged with providing recommendations regarding economic development in the city.

The commission is supposed to establish a network of communications between resources and talents within the city, identify resources and talents in the community, create  development incentives and remedy regulatory barriers to job creation.

There were suggestions at some of the meetings to do an inventory of vacant commercial spaces on Keizer’s main thoroughfares. This would give the city vital information about space available to businesses that want to locate to Keizer.

There was to be an effort to identify all the stakeholders and property owners up and down River Road in an effort to speak directly with those who have the final say about their property. That task hasn’t been tackled by the commission.

Of course it is hard to accomplish goals when a third of your commissioners are absent from the quarterly meetings. Some members have missed more meetings than other members.

In our view, if a person accepts appointment to a city committee, task force or commission, they should have a better than 50 percent attendance record. It is a commitment to sit on one of the many city bodies; it comes with the responsibility, as well, that each member will be attentive, productive and present.

Being a member of a city body may be a nice additional to one’s resume, but that’s hardly a reason to take up a seat that another person could inhabit. If an appointee to a city body is unable to fulfill their duties, that appointee needs to politely and professional step aside in favor of someone else who is eager to be part of the process.

In the case of the Economic Development Commission there seems to be a lack of interest. Was the commission created with a vague mission? Government officials constantly talk about economic development. Here was a body that was to focus on that exclusively and it was shown little love.

Sunset the Economic Development Commission and go back to the drawing board. The original commission was to be composed of a good fix of business owners, property owners, developers and architects. That plan got skewed over the past three years in the life of the commission.

If the city is serious about economic development then it needs to be serious about the support, funding and power it gives what could be a very important body for the future of the city of Keizer.