The Tulare County Board of Supervisors recently decided to pull its funding to the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The vote was 4-1, with Supervisor Pete Vander Poel the lone vote against this move. Comments made by the other four Supervisors called into question the performance of Board of Directors of the EDC and its staff.
The entire Administrative Board of the EDC, along with the vast majority of our 16 other board members, completely disagree with the County Supervisors’ assessment of the EDC. We are very disappointed they have chosen to pull funding from the only organization in Tulare County that has been creating new jobs for our residents for the last 31 years. We are also disappointed by numerous misstatements of fact made by four of the County Supervisors.
The EDC Board was criticized for its work plan and its performance related to that work plan by the County Supervisors – who have been a part of the development, implementation and review of the performance of the EDC since its creation in 1983. All of the current County Supervisors have either served as a voting member or alternate member of the EDC Board of Directors, and have been part of every decision that they have criticized over the years.
In response to the Supervisors actions, the EDC Board of Directors has done some serious self-reflection. We are pleased to report the elected officials and private company representatives that serve on the Board remain committed to its role in creating jobs here in Tulare County.
The EDC is the primary marketing and business recruitment organization for the cities and communities of Tulare County. The EDC has consistently produced results in adding new jobs, new companies, and new revenues to local jurisdictions for 31 years. Over the last 10 years the EDC has played a role in the creation of approximately 2,400 new jobs in Tulare County. These jobs also have resulted in $619 million of new construction.
The decision by the Board of Supervisors does not appear to be about value or performance. Two recent studies by the Southern California Edison Company indicate the County has been getting a 2-1 return on its investment in the EDC. Their choice to redirect economic development funds duplicates the efforts of the EDC while receiving a “free lunch” the EDC provides from its successes. County Supervisors represent all residents of the County, not just those residing in the unincorporated areas. They should recognize, as we do, that we all benefit from every job that is created regardless of the location.
We applaud Supervisor Pete Vander Poel for his desire to remain unified and work collaboratively in creating jobs for our residents. We can only hope that the other Supervisors reconsider their choice to not support the nationally recognized successes of the Tulare County EDC. Let’s work together as a County, cities and private sector to further economic development and make Tulare County a better place to live for everyone.
Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” The EDC Board of Directors remains committed to working together, as public and private sectors, to put our priority of “jobs first” for residents ahead of individual personality and politics.
2012-14 Administrative Board
- Nick Seals, Chairman
- Craig Vejvoda, Vice Chairman
- Teresa Boyce, Secretary
- George Vasquez, Member
EDC Past Chairs
- Suzi Picaso, Past Chair, 2010-12
- Colby Wells, Treasurer & Past Chair, 2008-10
- Harroll Wiley, Past Chair, 2002-06