Take our Twitter poll on the economic development plans: new one or keep chamber model. Click here
As expected, the future of Rome/Floyd County’s economic development push is separating from the Rome Floyd Chamber to be run by a six-member panel with three representatives each appointed by the city and county governments.
The Rome News reports that is the recommendation of Joint Services Committee, its members consisting of County Manager Jamie McCord, City Manager Sammy Rich, County Commissioner Wright Bagby, City Commissioner Craig McDaniel and Chamber Chair Pete McDonald. Click Rome News. The new six-member panel would, in turn, hire “an industrial recruiter as its top administrator,” the story reads.
In simpler terms, it is the Bartow County economic development plan, a highly successful one, but minus the critical “I Factor” — that is ample, easy access to Interstate 75. Even Bartow’s sole county commissioner, Steve Taylor, was quoted recently as calling I-75 the “catalyst” for development in his community (per another Rome News story).
With Al Hodge, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer, leaving that office in April after 21 years of success, there won’t be much time to transition to the Bartow option. Recruitment might not be an issue, though, as there may be a candidate already in the region.
What to watch:
How the “top administator” will be paid, including how much and what level of support staff will she or he have.
How the new plan will compensate for the automatic loss of clout on the recruitment trail.
And most important: How city and county commissioners will react when they realize their familiar campaign mantra to “bring more jobs” to the community becomes part of their re-election bids. With this plan, the commissioners are directly seizing responsibility for industrial recruitment since they’ll be appointing the development team members. We’ll get our first look at that in the November 2019 municipal elections as six City Commission incumbents are up for new terms.