Local officials must convince
public of Germany trip’s value
It’s 4,300 miles from Anderson to Hannover, Germany. That’s nine hours by jet, not including layovers.
It’s a long way to go for Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith, Anderson Economic Development Director Greg Winkler and Madison County Corporation for Economic Development Director Rob Sparks.
Smith estimates that this week’s trip to Hannover will cost $14,000, which will be drawn from local food-and-beverage tax funds.
That’s not a lot of money, relative to other government spending. But taxpayers guard their contributions jealously in these days of economic hardship. And, besides, it’s a big investment of time on the part of three local officials who have important jobs to do here at home.
The Anderson contingent is attending the Hannover Messe, billed as the world’s largest industrial trades show. More importantly, the local team is there, according to Smith, to further discussions with seven international companies that might be interested in doing business with Anderson and Madison County. Winkler says the companies represent high-value manufacturing operations.
The idea, of course, is to land more investment and jobs for the city and the county. Such development should be the No. 1 goal of local officials. More than anything else, the Madison County area needs more good jobs.
But it’s easy to understand public cynicism regarding such trips by local officials. There have been too many stories circulate in markets across the country of taxpayer money blown on junkets for government officials.
Smith, Sparks and Winkler assure their constituents that this is no vacation. It’s a working trip, and the work is important, they say. The best way they can convince the community is to, as they say, bring home the bacon. Short of that, it’s up to the local contingent to communicate, with as much detail as possible, what they accomplished during the trip.
Now, it’s true that in most cases, economic development officials can’t divulge the details of their discussions and can’t name the companies without jeopardizing the trust that is so essential to closing a deal. But officials often use this reality as an excuse not to share any information at all. And that only fosters public cynicism.
The old axiom that you have to spend money to make money certainly applies to economic development. Officials must cast their nets wide in order to increase the chances of hauling in investment. In such an environment, an 8,600-mile trip can be anything ranging from a total waste of time to a decisive step toward bringing home jobs.
It’s up to local officials to convince the public that it is closer to the latter than the former.
Local officials must convince
- Editorial: Picnic shows 'it's not us and them; it's just us' While the cauldron of racial division boiled over in Ferguson, Mo., folks 264 miles away in Anderson gathered Sunday for the 14th annual Racial Reconciliation Picnic at Jackson Park.
- Letter: Candidate cares about military families I am writing this letter as a Korean veteran, because I am supporting Melanie Wright for state representative.
- Letter: Government negligent on immigration policy Why has the government been so ‘negligent’ when it comes to illegal immigration? Gang members, serial criminals, drug smugglers, and terrorists typically cross the borders whenever they want.
- Editorial: Hit the brakes on authority until all players are known Council members were wise to put the brakes on joining the Mounds Lake Commission. We share their concerns about who would appoint the other four members of the commission
- Letter: U.S. should take care of its own children first American citizens are the most caring and giving people anywhere in the world. This said, we should worry about our own children's futures first instead of children coming here illegally.
- Letter: Quality of water in Killbuck is residents' concern On April 9, in The Herald Bulletin, in a front page article by Zach Osowski, I read about the proposed reservoir in our area. State Sen. Doug Eckert mentioned the future need for water in the Indianapolis area.
- Editorial: Commissioners should be at county council meetings When none of Madison County's three commissioners showed up for a Tuesday county council meeting, the council withheld $350,000 of money the commissioners had requested for road paving.
- Primus Mootry: I’m just sayin’ . . . beliefs formed by background and experience A friend of mine recently called to ask what I thought of the much publicized police shooting of a Ferguson, Missouri, teenager and the riots and protests that followed. I said, “nothing.”
- Letter: Columnist's words are mean-spirited Cal Thomas's July 6 column, "Arrogant president harming the nation," exhibits his usual partisanship.
- Letter: City beautification ignores other areas I read in the paper where they are going to start work on their great roundabout. What a waste, they are spending millions on the south side for the great gateway to Anderson and all the while the rest of Anderson is ignored.
- More Opinion Headlines