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Opinion

September 30, 2012

Our View: A positive move for local economy

The issue: The Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Commission last week approved a bylaws change to restructure its board.

Our view:  We’re glad to see the city and its economic development arm back on the same page.

The Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation’s board of directors agreed last week to cuts its size by more than half. Effective  immediately, the board dropped to nine members, down from the previous 21.

The move came in response to an effort by the Logansport City Council to give elected officials a greater voice in the organization. The council in July had voted 4-3 in favor of a plan that would restructure the board of directors to include the mayor, a Logansport councilman, a Cass County commissioner, a county councilman, the superintendent of Logansport Municipal Utilities and two representatives of the local business community.

If the foundation declined to go along with the change, officials had suggested, the city would cut off funding, which amounts to about $90,000 a year.

Backers of the change said they wanted a greater number of board members directly answerable to the voters.

Foundation leaders had initially resisted the move, insisting that the board was already representative of the community. They also argued that stacking the board with elected officials might see it shifting its focus with each new election, hampering the organization’s efforts to maintain a long-term vision.

The new, nine-member board represents a compromise between those positions. It gives elected officials four spots on the board while still giving  representatives of the local business community a voting majority.

The smaller size also represents a bow to those who claimed the old board was unweildy. LEDF representatives say the new, smaller board will be able to  respond more quickly to the changing economic development landscape.

Meanwhile, the 12 members who lost their board seats will stay involved in the organization’s activities through a committee structure that will carry out much  of the work that had been handled by the larger board.

We were glad to see Friday’s unanimous vote approving this new structure, and we applaud everyone involved in bringing this compromise about.

Coupled with the foundation’s announcement that it hopes to have a new president in place within the next 10 days, we find reason for optimism about this community’s economic future.

It’s great to see the city and its economic development arm back on the same page. Now, with a new LEDF president about to be named, the foundation and  local leaders can get back to the business at hand, finding jobs for Logansport and Cass County.

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