Double agencies don’t serve well

Published 8:00 pm Monday, October 12, 2009

The Selma Planning and Development Department has proffered a new position of project management and business and neighborhood development.

The position would fall under the direction of Charlotte Griffeth, who leads this particular city department.

In her proposal, Griffeth said the new position will serve “as the central point of contact for business and neighborhood assistance.”

The proposal further calls for the new employee to serve start-up businesses citywide, to assist businesses in developing in Selma, to provide statistical information, financing sources and locate technical assistance services.

Additionally, this person would serve as liaison to city government for entrepreneurs’ inquiries on public/private partnerships.

This sounds like a duplication of services already available in Selma.

The Economic Development Authority, the Business Incubator and The Selma/Dallas County Chamber of Commerce all, in some form or other, perform one or more of these services.

Why burden the city with the cost of salary and benefits of an individual to do what three different agencies do?

Why create a gap between these agencies and the city when some healing is occurring every day after the tension created by the Perkins Administration.

And we’re uncertain the planning and development department can handle the extra work, even with another individual to carry out the tasks. After all, the department has its hands full with myriad projects: the Riverfront Park, the Interpretive Center, Mainstreet. The list continues.

If there’s some need for change within the system already at hand, Griffeth and Mayor George Evans should sit down with representatives from the EDA, Chamber and other groups to work out those issues.

There’s no need for a new wheel on the economic drive engine.