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Commissioners and Hernandez work to define economic committee direction

Staff writers

Now that county commissioners have included all 15 applicants on a new economic development committee, they turned Monday to working out how the group will operate and what it will do.

Tabbed by commissioners as interim chairman before a meeting has taken place, Chris Hernandez of Edward Jones in Marion offered his thoughts about initial directions.

“I think these first meetings should be about what we think economic development is and how we can move forward,” Hernandez said, “because that’s going to be a huge job creating the rules.”

Hernandez offered a definition of economic development, then suggested in subsequent comments that members with alternative views for the committee could be redirected.

“I want to explain to them what our task is, what we are defining as economic development,” Hernandez said, “but if all 15 people still want (the position) after the first meeting, I think we may have to weed them out.”

A common concern was staying focused on what economic development actually is.

Commissioner Dan Holub said that members do not want to ignore people’s concerns, but that they do not want to lose focus.

“We slam one door, but we gotta open another,” Holub said.

Commissioners agreed that they wanted the group to maintain focus solely on development of jobs and bringing in business.

When chairman Randy Dallke said that the committee shouldn’t have any time for vindictiveness, Hernandez asked whether he meant people who were not happy with the status quo.

Holub answered.

“Individuals, communities, I mean, you’re going to hear it all,” Holub said. “Just nip it in the bud right away.”

Commissioner Lori Lalouette suggested diverse opinions could be viewed as strengths.

“My opinion is it’s not about power,” Lalouette said. “You guys have different skill sets, different ideas, there’s a lot of things I think you could accomplish better than us.”

Dallke said he wanted the committee to be free from commission influence.

“I don’t want to control what this committee looks forward to,” Dallke said, “because a lot of those people on that list have got millions of dollars tied up in their business and everything we can do to help those people out here with that kind of business is what we want to do.”

Last modified June 9, 2016

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