Time for an EDP/BCIF change?

Published 7:06 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

In the name of fairness, city and county governments need to create a new entity to replace the make-up of our Economic Development Partnership (EDP).

This isn’t knocking current board members who volunteer their time, nor is it about the EDP and Boyle County Industrial Foundation (BCIF) alone. It’s about fairness and the economic future of Danville-Boyle County. The recent Diageo debacle and resulting accusations highlights this need. Furthermore, it shows it’s a mistake for BCIF to potentially manage future property purchased by local governments.

At the time of his hiring, the president and CEO of the EDP also served as president and CEO of the privately held Boyle County Industrial Foundation. This board (BCIF) now appoints three members to serve on the EDP board, while city and county governments appoint three each, three by Chairman’s Circle as well as one by Junction City and Perryville, and three at-large.

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However, the BCIF is also a decision maker of which properties are available, including the showing of other private properties. The potential for unfairness becomes glaring. The deck is stacked in the BCIF’s favor at the expense of other private property owners, while local governments promote a crony capitalism. The EDP president and CEO also holds oversight over non-disclosure agreements, although Open Records show his propensity to mislead the community.

It’s difficult for the general public to understand how this operates and why, when questions are raised concerning operations, it’s quickly and publicly ridiculed by certain EDP/BCIF officers, as exhibited by the BCIF chairman’s recent letter criticizing a magistrate who raised some issues.

The question needed to be asked is; “What would one do differently?”

Following are suggestions for consideration:

• City and county governments create a new entity such as the Danville-Boyle County Industrial Authority, financing it and appointing board members.

• Local governments inform the state this new entity will be point of contact.

• Board members cannot have property available for sale or lease to potential industry while serving on the new board.

• The hired director of the new entity will handle specifications from the state and arrange with private property owners (including the BCIF) if they have property available that meets specifications.

• The director cannot receive compensation from any private entity or serve on any board who sells private property.

This will provide a level playing field and represent a true public/private partnership, a win/win proposition for all.

Randy Gip Graham