By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Commissioner Jim McEntire, a board member of the Clallam County Economic Development Council, or EDC, scheduled a half-hour chat with his fellow commissioners to get their input before a key EDC meeting Thursday.
Linda Rotmark, longtime EDC executive director, has announced that she will step down at the end of this year.
Her departure leaves the EDC in state of flux with questions about its future.
“I’ve been kind of in and around the EDC for six years now, and the other two [county commissioners, Mike Chapman and Mike Doherty] have been paying attention to it even longer than me,” said McEntire, a former Port of Port Angeles commissioner who became a county commissioner in January 2012.
“With a change a leadership, it’s always good to revisit your strategy and, if nothing else, revalidate it.”
Rotmark is scheduled to present an end-of-the-year report to commissioners, after which time the board will discuss the county’s future involvement with the EDC.
Clallam County budgeted $30,000 next year for the EDC, but commissioners have said they won’t renew the contract until the EDC charts a clear course.
The EDC received $147,000 in 2013: $50,000 from the state; $30,000 from the county; $25,000 from the Port of Port Angeles; $15,000 each from the city of Port Angeles and Olympic Medical Center; $5,000 from the city of Sequim; and $7,000 from the city of Forks.
In advance of the commissioners’ discussion at 9:30 a.m. Monday, McEntire prepared a handwritten, “back of the napkin” organizational chart of an economic growth strategy with a list of components of an economic foundation including schools, infrastructure and the workforce.
Commissioners’ work sessions are held in Room 160 at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St.
“I’m not necessarily of the mind that we’ve got to blow up what we’ve got right now and start all over again,” McEntire said.
First Federal President and CEO Larry Hueth, Peninsula College President Luke Robins and Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce President Brian Kuh discussed the EDC’s future at a well-attended chamber luncheon Dec. 2.
The chamber’s board of directors sent a Nov. 21 letter to the EDC board suggesting joint discussions for “a new, strategic and coordinated model” for countywide economic development.
The EDC board will discuss the letter and related matters at its Thursday meeting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center, 905 W. Ninth St. in Port Angeles.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.