Back to work at the EDA

Published 9:45 pm Monday, July 20, 2009

There are, perhaps, few divisions of local government where stability is more important than in the department of economic development. As city leaders make plans and work deals designed to bring more businesses — and more employment opportunities — into the area, a sense of institutional memory is a vital asset to the organization that stands in the front yard waving the “Open for Business” sign.

Sadly, during the past few months, that agency has been cast into turmoil by resignations of important and influential members and by the sudden termination of its director, Cindy Cave. Add a reconfiguration of all of Suffolk’s appointed boards and commissions to the mix, and there could be reason to worry about the future of the Economic Development Authority, not to mention the viability of its mandate to promote a business-friendly climate within the city.

Two new members who joined the authority this month have a chance to help settle things down again in the agency’s East Washington Street offices. John D. “Jack” Eure Jr. and Mike Duman, both successful Suffolk businessmen, have a lot to learn about how the authority works and about the bureaucracy involved in decision-making at the municipal level.

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However, the experience that both men bring to their new task should prove valuable both to them and to the city. As business owners, they understand the unique problems that entrepreneurs face when dealing with City Hall, and they are likely to be vigilant in working to smooth the path for growth that will create jobs, personal wealth and higher city tax revenues.

The learning curve will be steep, but the needs are pressing. And the potential benefits that will accrue to the city from the right philosophies and decisions at the EDA are worthy of the best minds that Suffolk can spare. Whatever the problems the authority has faced in past months, it is good to see two new members eager to get to work.