Ferriday needs a team, leader

Published 12:02 am Thursday, October 4, 2012

Editor’s note: The original version of this opinion incorrectly stated that Mayor Gene Allen broke a confidentiality agreement. Allen did not break it; the board of aldermen did. We have corrected the information below and are happy to set the record straight.

Economic development is a complicated machine with a number of moving parts and intricate systems that must be in place to work properly.

If it were easy, everyone in the field would be massively successful.

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But few are successful.

Economic development teams that succeed year after year often share three key traits — team members communicate well with one another, they trust everyone involved in the process and none of the players cares who gets the credit for a win.

Clearly the opposite seems to have taken place recently in a deal that still may bring a new business to Ferriday.

Rather than acting like a team member, however, Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen appears to have done his best to nix the deal before it even got off the ground.

It’s ironic that the mayor would do this since the plans called for filling a long-vacant city building for five years and the addition of 50 new jobs to Ferriday.

Most mayors would welcome such a business — particularly one seemingly as innocuous as a shoe manufacturer.

Instead of the welcome mat, Allen opted to publicly start questioning the deal and insists he needs to see the company’s business plan and financial information to know what’s best.

In the process the board broke a confidentiality agreement the town had made with a prospective industrial prospect by naming the business publicly.

Fortunately, the prospect seems to be taking the matter well, suggesting they’re still interested in locating in the area, despite the rocky welcome.

Ferriday — like many parts of our area — needs many things to regain the prosperity of yesteryear, but first and foremost it needs a team, led by a good, confident and cooperative leader.