Washington city officials are poised to eliminate its economic development board which has become unnecessary.
The city council will vote on an ordinance in October to eliminate the board and Chapter 155 of the city code. The council approved moving forward with the plan at Monday night’s administration/operations committee meeting.
City Administrator Darren Lamb said the idea to eliminate the board stems from the hiring of Sal Maniaci as the city’s community and economic development director. Lamb, who had previously served in the position, said Chapter 155 of the city code is outdated.
The code calls for a three-person board made up of the mayor, chairman of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and the president of the Washington Civic Industrial Corporation. Portions of the chapter addresses when the board meets and how it’s supposed to operate.
Lamb said the code was written when the development director position was created in the mid-1980s. He said he reviewed the chapter and, after discussing it with City Attorney Mark Piontek, decided it was no longer needed.
Lamb said while he served as the economic development director, he had regular meetings with the three people on the economic development board outside of formal board meetings, so a meeting with the economic development board was redundant.
Lamb said he anticipated Maniaci would continue the monthly meetings with the mayor, Chamber chairman and president of the Civic Industrial Corporation when he assumes the role.
After his consultation with Piontek, Lamb said there was nothing in Chapter 155 that was needed for the city moving forward. There was nothing in the chapter that was required by state law for the city, he said.
One thing eliminating the chapter would do is remove the ordinance to approve the developmental director’s salary. Currently, the position’s salary has to be approved by the council. If eliminated, Lamb said the salary would be tied to the city’s recent compensation plan.
Lamb said when the position was created, the Chamber contributed money to pay for the director’s salary. He said the Chamber still contributes $14,000 annually for “economic development activities.” That agreement would stay in place if the chapter is revoked.
The council had no discussion on the issue and agreed to move forward and vote on revoking the chapter at a future meeting.
Maniaci was named the new director last week. He has served as the city planner since January 2016. He will begin his new role Oct. 1.
Lamb said Maniaci also will continue his duties as city planner. The salary for the position is $56,596.80.
Maniaci stated be more involved with the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Washington, Inc., but also will attend the city’s planning and zoning commission, board of zoning adjustment and historic preservation meetings.