New EDP board meets for first time, plans to add at-large members

Published 8:16 am Friday, October 20, 2017

Wednesday marked the start of a new era for the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, as its newly restructured board of directors met for the first time.

“It’s a big day for us. We’ve been working on this for a while. It feels like a really long time,” said Ben Nelson, interim EDP chair who is currently a holdover from the previous board until new officers are elected. “This represents the first day of a newly reconfigured governance structure … no pressure folks; we’re expecting increased collaboration, improved teamwork and better outcomes, OK? So no pressure.”

The restructuring of the EDP board gives public partners — the City of Danville and Boyle County Fiscal Court — increased voting power on the board, and introduces three voting seats appointed directly by the Boyle County Industrial Foundation.

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Nelson said the reorganization is one of seven objectives listed in “chapter one” of the county’s new long-term strategic economic development plan.

“We feel like we have accomplished the majority of the objectives in that chapter,” Nelson said, noting the EDP’s recent addition of Hal Goode as chief operating officer that met the objective of increasing EDP staff.

The new EDP Board of Directors can be as large as 17 people, but was only 11 on Wednesday. Boyle County Fiscal Court has yet to appoint one of its three seats; the cities of Junction City and Perryville could have voting seats if they contributed financially to the EDP but were listed as “advisory” partners this week; and three “at-large” members must still be chosen by the other members of the board.

Jody Lassiter, chief executive officer of the EDP, provided a list of the current board members on Wednesday:

• Boyle County Industrial Foundation: Industrial Foundation Chair John Albright, Walter Goggin and Cindy Ellsworth

• Danville: Mayor Mike Perros, Commissioner Denise Terry and City Manager Ron Scott

• Boyle County: Judge-Executive Harold McKinney and David Maynard

• Chairman’s Circle investors: Ephraim McDowell Health CEO Sally Davenport, Marty Gibson with Farmers National Bank and Brian Hutzley with Centre College

• Advisory partners: Rhonda Doss (Chamber of Commerce), Jennifer Kirchner (Convention and Visitors Bureau), Nick Wade (Heart of Danville), Robby Mayes (Main Street Perryville) and Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet (Perryville)

Vacant seats: at-large members (3), Boyle County (1) and Junction City advisory seat (1)

Junction City has not participated in EDP board meetings for years and city officials have made comments critical of the EDP on numerous occasions.

Nelson told the board they should consider choosing people to fill the at-large seats who would fill gaps in the knowledge and experience of those already sitting on the board.

“You should be asking yourself, ‘are we missing something?'” he said. “You should look around this table and observe gender identity, and wonder if we are diverse. You should look around this table and wonder about ethnicity and say, ‘are we representing this community?’ Those are some of the things you should be thinking about as you think about potential citizens at-large because … this board should be representing the community we serve and if we need to use these three seats to diversify and be more inclusive, please take advantage of that.”

Nelson noted there is “some minimum language” on expected experience and qualifications for board members.

Nelson said he is accepting suggested names for the at-large members from current board members. He will then provide the suggested names to a committee of Perros, McKinney, Albright and Davenport — all board members before and after the restructuring — to recommend three names to the full board.

“By next month, we hopefully will have three potential citizens at-large that have potentially indicated they would be willing to serve should the boar select them, and that will allow you to fully staff yourselves,” Nelson said.

Hutzley noted later in the meeting that no one on the board currently comes from a kindergarten-12 education background. It was suggested a school superintendent might make a good at-large member.

Board members were also required to sign a “confidentiality agreement” that Lassiter said is a new requirement for the new board.

The confidentiality agreement states board members will “protect” confidential information concerning business dealings they may learn about in closed sessions.

“I agree to protect this confidential information from disclosure by not revealing, discussing, or disseminating it to others by any means,” the agreement reads. “I further agree to protect this confidential information indefinitely, both during and after my service as a director or my tenure of employment.”