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EDC alters its policies, chief's job description

The policy overhaul stems from criticism of the agency by the County Commission.


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000

The Economic Development Commission of Hernando County adopted a job description for its executive director Wednesday that includes a provision calling for reviews through "periodic reports and conferences."

The description also calls for the director to maintain an ongoing countywide economic development plan; serve as primary contact for economic development strategies; recruit businesses from other areas; and develop demographic statistics, annual budgets and project reports, among other things.

The EDC board approved the new description with little comment during its meeting at Bank of America in Weeki Wachee. However, board members put off further discussion about a communications policy that would include language of the state's open meetings and records laws until after the County Commission rules on contract changes.

The job description and overhaul of policies and the EDC contract stem from an admonishment of the agency by the County Commission after it held an improper closed-door meeting following a critical story in the St. Petersburg Times. In a September story, the Times found the EDC had inflated some of its claims on business retention and recruitment in its June annual report.

EDC board member and County Commissioner Chris Kingsley told the EDC board that County Administrator Paul McIntosh is working on a draft copy of changes to the EDC contract.

The contract will be presented to the new county commissioners after they are sworn in this month.

EDC board member and Superintendent of Schools John Sanders said the EDC needs to hold workshops with newly elected county commissioners before asking for new projects, such as $661,000 needed for the Hernando County RailPark.

"If we don't do that, we're going to struggle," he said about the need to explain the EDC's mission and past success to the commissioners.

Kingsley agreed, saying he supports the RailPark project but that the new county commissioners will need to be brought up to speed.

"It's important for you to impress (the project) on the new board members," he said.

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