Ken Harwood: Only thing worse than WEDC is no WEDC

Ken Harwood: Only thing worse than WEDC is no WEDC

Nov 16, 2015

Dear Editor: Regarding your editorial "Shut down Scott Walker`s WEDC before the next jobs fiasco," I have suggested dramatic change for WEDC since before it was created. But when a company was hinting at leaving Lafayette County, WEDC was still my first call. The Lafayette company stayed and WEDC did help. I do suggest that WEDC should have been more communicative, made the process easier and more transparent, and been able to provide access to their resources without my having to know a "guy" on the inside. WEDC does need to be fixed.

That said, the only thing worse than the WEDC we have now is no WEDC at all. The ability to direct funds in a timely manner is imperative. A link to federal funds is crucial. Even the communication to the Legislature, as poor as it may be, is needed.

The bad: WEDC does not track the loans or grants they make, the communication is at best partisan, they do not work closely enough with the development professionals or elected officials at the local level, and they shoot their wounded. It is a mess but a strong leader could fix it. Should fix it. And if fixed, it would be a needed tool in a state with few tools at its disposal. The new mantra should be prioritize, justify, track, communicate.

Shutting WEDC down and returning the functions to the even more dysfunctional, more partisan, less informed state Legislature would be a mess.

Ken Harwood

Evansville and Madison


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