Tomorrow's Common Council meeting shows something of interest that most residents likely would simply bypass. As with every election comes the reappointments of aldermen by Mayor Taylor to the city's various boards, commissions and committees. Aldermanic representatives on these are intended to be the "leaders" and "voices" of that citizen-led body to the Common Council if they request anything from the aldermen and mayor.
For many, many, many years, the Economic Development Commission (EDC) has been represented on the council via two aldermen - Steve Olson and Ken Skowronski. Skowronski is also the Chairman of the commission and a close friend of Mayor Taylor. This commission has also been under attack in recent years due to its ineffectiveness of being a stablized commission truly geared towards economic development.
With the economic recession, residents and businesses alike are looking for their government to help lead the way in not only encouraging new development, but perhaps in a bigger way encouraging the REdevelopment of various retail and business centers in Franklin. The Economic Development Commission, underneath the Chairmanship of Alderman Skowronski, has refused to tackle this. The refusal of doing so even came after one of its members, blogger John Michlig, sought time and again to bring forward new concepts and initiatives to retain and attract businesses. Sadly, time and again Michlig's ideas were fought back by other EDC members and the signs were indicating that Chairman Skowronski, while kind enough to place Michlig's items of discussion on the EDC agenda, wasn't too supportive, either. In what likely amounted to huge amounts of frustration, Michlig resigned from the EDC and was soon after appointed to the Plan Commission.
Franklin Today has been vocal and at times passionate about the direction our community is going in terms of attracting and retaining businesses. In speaking with Franklin business owners frequently, I hear constant complaints about how things are going, and how where the city can take leadership roles and set examples on how to please businesses, do the exact opposite. The EDC continues to not receive any positive mentions in these conversations, since simply put, the EDC doesn't do a thing.
Needless to say, the word has been for several months that changes were on the horizon for the EDC. It needed to happen, but at the same time solutions also need to be made. Well, it looks like it's all beginning to piece together starting with some appointment shifts.
EDC Chairman Skowronski, as of tomorrow night, will be moved to be the aldermanic rep for the Community Development Authority. To replace him will be Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm. This is a unique shift of power by Mayor Taylor, and I have to say is rather interesting. I have additional thoughts and concerns on why in a post later tonight.