Archive for Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Job creation, retention center of LCDC discussion

The Leavenworth County Development Corp. offices at 1294 Eisenhower Rd., Leavenworth.

The Leavenworth County Development Corp. offices at 1294 Eisenhower Rd., Leavenworth.

March 17, 2010

Job creation and retention was again a hot topic at the Leavenworth County Development Corporation’s monthly board meeting.

During Thursday’s meeting in Tonganoxie, the board discussed more improvements to be made to its Program of Work, a document created to account for LCDC’s productivity.

The change warranting the most debate has been LCDC’s responsibility for creating and retaining jobs in the county.

LCDC developed the Program of Work when it realized many city officials who fund the organization didn’t have a clear vision of LCDC’s role in their communities.

Program of Work came to fruition last year, and this year LCDC has been working to make it better.

Some of the changes made to the program during the February board meeting included holding LCDC accountable only for reporting job creation and retention in the county instead of holding it accountable for creating and retaining all the jobs itself.

LCDC board member Dan Gutshall presented amendments to the Program of Work in February, saying it was LCDC’s job to create an environment conducive to new business, not to solely create jobs.

Creating new jobs is a community effort, Gutshall said.

Another issue raised with LCDC having a target goal of the number of jobs it was responsible for creating was the lack of clarity when it came to claiming which organizations or companies truly created certain jobs and which did nothing.

LCDC board member and Leavenworth City Manager J. Scott Miller said at Thursday’s meeting he believed strongly LCDC should have a numerical way to track its progress in the area of jobs.

“If our mission is to create and retain jobs, we ought to record that somehow,” Miller said. “If you don’t have anything in there, what are you shooting for?”

The original goal set for LCDC’s job creation and retention was 100, and Executive Director Steve Jack said he was confident in the organization’s ability to achieve that number.

“This year, we’re already at 75,” Jack said. “Last year, we were over 400. The year before that it was 2. But I’m comfortable that if we are aggressive, we can get to 100.”

Leavenworth County Commissioner and LCDC board member J.C. Tellefson said he understood the need for a target amount of jobs, but he still agreed with Gutshall’s earlier assessment it could be detrimental to the corporation.

“There are a lot of people who don’t come to these meetings…and they’re only looking at that number,” Tellefson said. “Those people will hang us out to dry and say ‘you didn’t make your 100.’”

LCDC will continue discussion about its Program of Work and proposed changes to the document at future meetings.

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