IEDC Recognizes the Vital Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development
McFarland, Christiana, Geary, Caitlin, McConnell, Katie, Nation's Cities Weekly
When discussing the importance of local economic development in his keynote address during the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) conference last week in Columbus, Ohio, NLC President Ronald O. Loveridge, mayor, Riverside, Calif., stressed that, "economic development is essential, complex, competitive and necessary; outcomes are not accidental or random. It requires strong leadership to facilitate strategic planning and strategic partnerships for long-term prosperity." This theme of leadership was also the topic of an NLC-hosted workshop for economic development staff on "Working Effectively with Your Elected Leadership for Economic Development."
Local elected officials have a clear role in economic development, which is distinct from the role of economic development officials and staff. However, these roles are mutually supportive. Economic development is most successful when local elected officials and economic development officials work together.
During the workshop, economic development officials heard from Douglas Athas, councilmember, Garland, Texas; Lenny Eliason, county commissioner, Athens, Ohio; and Ed Peterson, councilmember, Lakewood, Colo.
Each spoke about economic development efforts in his community, his involvement in these efforts, and how effective interaction with economic development staff led to successful outcomes. These elected officials have maintained a strong working relationship with economic development staff in their communities and expressed the common themes of communication and relationships.
"Economic development can not be us vs. them. Staff and elected officials serve the same constituents and in turn share the same basic principle: to create a strong local economy and vibrant community," said Councilmember Peterson. …