2017-05-17 / Editorial

Slotting helped ensure broad skillset

Person County commissioners decided Monday – in a 3-2 vote – to restructure the Economic Development Commission and its private arm known as the Person County Business Industrial Center, or PCBIC.

The change is a fairly radical one. In essence only one of the current voting members will remain on the EDC.

One position will be eliminated entirely and the other seven will be put up for reappointment.

Gone will be the official designations that are guaranteed seats on the EDC, such as the representative of Piedmont Community College or mayor of Roxboro.

The change comes about five years after another overhaul by commissioners essentially got rid of the board serving at that time and set up the system we’ve been operating under.

So far as we know, the only public debate over this change came on Monday when commissioners debated the changes for about 15 minutes or so before agreeing to them.

Economic development is a tough business in the best of times and we’ve been less than pleased with the transparency of some board members, particularly chairman Kenneth Perry.

Despite that, we worry that the wholesale housecleaning county commissioners have embarked upon will send a clear signal to potential business and industrial clients that Person County either doesn’t want to grow or doesn’t have a clue about how to do it properly.

The newly constituted board will be made up of political appointees rather than community stakeholders with a professional interest in economic development matters.

That’s unfortunate because it gives the impression – as Commissioner Jimmy Clayton noted – that the plum positions on the economic development commission will now be available to the friends and associates of commissioners.

Hopefully as we see the kinds of people they appoint, we will find that they are qualified for reasons beyond who they know and what they donate to commissioners’ campaign coffers.

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