Archived Story

We all need to be team players, even mayor

Published 12:02am Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nearly four years ago, our community leaders’ divisive egos just about got the best of us.

Despite having the power to appoint members to the city-county economic development authority, city and county leaders in 2009 squabbled and disagreed on nearly everything regarding the former EDA.

Some thought it functioned just fine.

Others thought it was the most dysfunctional group on the planet.

Some believed the EDA has been reasonably successful while others thought it had been all talk and no jobs.

But the kicker of the whole thing was that each side’s gripes were rarely genuinely expressed to the other. This dysfunctional relationship continued for years and years.

Rather than sitting down together, talking and listening — a novel concept, particularly for politicians — each side stayed on their own turf.

Occasionally a verbal barb was thrown at the other. Almost each year, one side would threaten to pull its funding, which would cripple the agency.

Eventually, someone would talk a little sense into the current problem-maker and the festering relationship would limp along.

The cycle continued, almost annually, until finally the relationship cracked.

For a while, it appeared as if Natchez-Adams County simply wouldn’t have a professional, focused economic development effort.

Cooler, non-political heads intervened, fortunately. Eventually, after much work on the part of a group of consultants, they reported the good news and the bad news.

The good news was that everyone wanted much of the same things — additional jobs, a stronger local economy and a plan to improve existing businesses.

The bad news was that the biggest impediment to achieving what we all sought was, well, us.

We were poorly communicating with one another. We’d politicized something that shouldn’t be political.

Finally our egos and the desire to “get credit” for any progress often got in the way of simply getting things done.

A prime example of this was when the county was courting one private prison operator while another was knocking at the EDA’s door.

In short, no one was working from the same playbook; we were far from a team.

The solution was scrapping the existing EDA and involving the private business sector into a new EDA.

Natchez Inc. and its key, funding source, Natchez Now, were formed.

The success of Natchez Inc. is apparent. Hundreds of millions in investment and hundreds of jobs have been committed since its inception.

But last week, as Natchez Mayor Butch Brown casually mentioned he would soon make an economic development announcement, was a flashback to days gone by.

Quite simply, Natchez-Adams County cannot afford to have people pulling in different directions.

To avoid the economic development mistakes of the past, we must all be on the same page and funnel any and all economic projects to Natchez Inc.

That includes the mayor.

He’s clearly doing much to improve Natchez and his efforts are appreciated.

But working independently on economic development projects simply undermines the team that was carefully formed to keep everyone working together.

This is not the EDA of 1993, and this is not how our city-county-private sector should operated. We must be a team if we’re going to succeed.

 

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    This Mayor Brown acts out as a maverick all alone for as the ND had a story a while back that was showing him as wanting to be above the law or his way!! I agree that Brown is going to have to work as a team player if Natchez is going to improve!!

  • Anonymous

    With all due respect for you, Kevin, you should NOT complain about any of Brown’s actions or conduct; the ND ENDORSED him during the mayors race.
    Be careful when you pick up a snake…

  • Anonymous

    He does – a shuffleboard team of one!

  • Anonymous

    It WILL bite…..and has.

  • Anonymous

    NUMBER ONE, WHO IS WE ? NUMBER TWO, IS THERE ANYONE IN YOUR EYE SIGHT DOING ANYTHING RIGHT IN THIS COMMUNITY, IF SO, LIST THEM. STOP CRYING ABOUT EVERY THING GOING ON IN THE COMMUNITY, SOUND LIKE A BABY THAT LOST THERE PACIFY. WHY DON’T YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS DO SOMETHING GREAT FOR THE COMMUNITY THIS XMAS, SUCH AS GIVING THE STEW POT ONE HUNDRED TURKEYS,OR BUYING SOME KIDS BICYCLES, OR JUST ZIP UP YOUR MOUTH UNTIL AFTER XMAS. WE THE READERS ARE TIRED OF HEARING YOU WINDING EVERY DAY ABOUT NOTHING. I HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT YOU ONLY PRETEND YOU WANT THE COMMUNITY TO DO BETTER, BUT IN REALITY YOU DO ALL YOU CAN TO SEPERATE AND HOLD BACK THE COMMUNITY. I TELL YOU WHAT WOULD BE A NUMBER ONE XMAS FOR US; TAKE A SIX MONTH XMAS VACATION.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com Kevin Cooper

    Burnley, does supporting a candidate mean that you must agree 100 percent with all of their actions — until they’re no longer in office? If so, I’ve not met a single candidate I could support to that level. Heck, most close friends and family members disagree on some issues. :)

    Thanks.
    Kevin.

  • Anonymous

    You do realize Kevin could easily remove your comments and make it so you could never post here again, right? In not doing so, what he accomplishes is showing every reader of this site what you are. Personally, I find it a bit amusing that you are too stupid to realize it.

    You are the persona of hatred, a physical embodiment of the very worst traits in humans. You know no shame, you live on hatred and are hopelessly illiterate. Your posts reenforce every negative stereotype in existence with regard to black people. In short, there is nothing good about you and the world will be a better place when you are gone. I don’t believe in Hell but people like you make me wish I did.