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July 11, 2012

Debate takes eyes off ball

Now we might be seeing why former Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation President Nolan “Skip” Kuker left town for a similar position in Greenfield. Logansport city officials, with some reluctance, are proceeding with plans to restructure the foundation board after Councilman Bob

Bishop expressed a desire to see the common city taxpayer represented on it. A change that would bypass the existing board in favor of a new management circle including the mayor and a representative of the county — maybe the county commissioners’ president — would step on the toes of the existing board and give more authority to elected officials.

Mayor Ted Franklin, who said when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2007 that he wanted his own economic development department in the City Building, has resurrected the economic development issue again. But this time, instead of having a separate department, he simply would be part of a virtual hijacking of the economic development foundation.

This has all transpired within a matter of weeks at a time when the foundation’s board president has said the board is actively in the process of selecting a candidate to succeed Kuker. City officials meanwhile are on the hook for $88,000 in County Economic Development Income Tax dollars to support the foundation and its mission, and could threaten to take their ball and go home, figuratively speaking.

As for that possibility, it might be time for the foundation to consider it and say, “Thanks city officials, we’d love to have you, but we don’t need your money.” Yes that might be a sign to the outside world and outside investors that Logansport and Cass County don’t have their mutual acts together when it comes to the No. 1 issue in this year’s presidential campaign: The economy. But there is no evidence to suggest the foundation either hasn’t done the job or that a streamlined board and not a new president could somehow do it better.

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