Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chester needs a Strong Mayor and business leader

Jackie Parker. Stolen from her Twitter page
When Jackie Parker walked away from her executive director post of the Chester Economic Development Authority (CEDA), she shared some parting words in the Delaware County Times about the city’s business climate. 

She said the mayor and city council had an economic goal to get the city grocery stores and that goal has been met. The other big goal is to make the downtown business district more attractive to business owners. Next is to rekindle discussions about developing the waterfront and 2nd Street (Route 291).

"The goal of any development in the city is to improve the economic situation and improve the community, Parker said. To that end, housing has been a focal point of the city’s strategy. The city has the processes in place to encourage business to come in,” Parker said, "and that will help Chester to move away from reliance on public funding to drive development. From an economic standpoint, you need to attract private dollar. You can’t do it all with government funds.”

All of what she says makes so much sense. To accomplish any one of these goals would be significant. So, I wonder why she left?

It appears CEDA is floundering. It’s had a rocky run since the new administration has come on. They started with the long time director held over from the old administration being replaced by the mayor’s guy who was ultimately kicked out by people not friendly to the mayor’s guy. Jackie Parker joined with much fanfare due to her experience and connections but she allegedly is voluntarily leaving after only 18 months on the job. 

Who will be the 4th CEDA business leader in less than 2 years?

The most interesting comment Ms. Parker left us with has to do with how Chester City government is set up.
She would like to see Chester move away from its Home Rule Charter and go to the more traditional strong-mayor or city manager form of government.Currently, Chester uses a weak-mayor form of government, where the mayor is a voting member of the five-member council. Each council member is the head of a different city department. Parker thinks this puts Chester at a disadvantage. “Everytime there’s a change in administration, you get new department heads,” she said. “There’s no institutional memory to keep things going.” With a strong-mayor or manager government, department heads would be city employees and council people would be involved with the departments, but not directly run them.
I’ve often wondered why our city council people don’t represent neighborhoods instead of running departments. It would be great to go to MY city council person as the first stop with an issue as opposed to trying to figure out who can answer my question or resolve my problem among the current crop of council people or other people in charge of city departments.

I remember poor Shep Garner at the Mayor/Council debate before the 2010 election. He was trying to convince folk that he was the only person in the room with financial experience especially with regards to city finances. He wasn’t too convincing as most people where sold on the young upstart deserving an opportunity to show what he could do. 

Well, I think any objective person would agree that this administration is struggling to get their budgets, audits, and financial house in order and has been called out by a prominent business man as creating a 'business unfriendly atmosphere'. 

As Jackie Parker says as she rides off into the western sunset of Harrisburg...

“It has to come form the residents. It’s really an examination. Is this what the people really want?”

16 comments:

  1. Wow, now thats deep!

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  2. Let's be for real, the goal of a super market was already in place long before Jackie or this administration ever showed up. Fare and Square & Bottom Dollar were both down by the Butler Administration. Thou I don't agree with the form of government we have I will say it has worked effectively for over 20 years. It's not the car, but who is driving. Especially when 5 people are trying to drive the same car

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    1. No, Bottom Dollar had eyes on Chester during the Butler administration but the deal was made with the Linder administration. Ms. Parker was stating the overall city goals regardless of administration, as it should be presented.

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  3. So when she had a job in Chester she did nothing , but now she is leaving and has so much to say. Goodby Ms Parker

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    1. Name the CEDA administrator that got the most accomplished?

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    2. DAVE cant spell his last name but he was with the BUTLER ADMIN.

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    3. That would be Dave Schiocetti.

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    4. Dave Schioccetti (pronounced Sha-Keddy) was a key person, if not 'The' key person, in setting the groundwork for Chester's revitalization during the Butler administration. I would playfully tease Mayor Butler that he didn't cut the deals but he cut the ribbons. Schioccetti cut the deals. An ultimate team player, he did his work in the background not taking credit for his work but passing it up to the mayor...as he should. With a masters degree in urban planning and an amazing ability to forge relationships, it's a shame so many know so little about what he meant to Chester's ability to continue bringing business to Chester. I don't see anyone as the 'go to' guy anymore.

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  4. The dems will get elected no matter what because they are dems. It has nothing to do what they are or are not doing. Chester voters are being stupid. This admin has done nothing great and a lot wrong. Somebody PLEASE tell me why I should like this admin.

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  5. I am concerned about the article by Charles Cutton re Philadelphia Union "looking outside of Chester for facility development" . Phila. Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said the team's plans for building a training facility no longer centers around the land near PPL Park. Seemingly due to the schism with the City due to "significant changes in leadership, policy and zoning ordinances with the city of Chester."

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  6. I beg to differ with your opinion that Dave S was an effective CEDA director. I don't recall any projects under his administration that benefited the city residents. If you are not aware, Mr. S 's salary was not paid for by the City of Chester, but by the Institute of Economic Development of which he was initially a member. This "development" organization represents a collaboration between Widener University and CCMC and its sole purpose is to promote economical development that benefits those institutions first and the city of Chester second. So when you talk about Mr. S's contribution, you need to look at what his accomplishments have done to improve the well being of the citizens of Chester. Absolutely nothing. I thought you were once a newsman. Do your research, Mr. Roots and stop being a cheerleader. Jackie Parker's contribution to CEDA cannot be measured by the short time that she was in office, but as one of the concerned citizens who had the opportunity to work with her, I can point to the fact that her leadership in recruiting the participation of city residents has lead to the formation of a citizen committee that is preparing to get Chester designation in the Main Street program. Kudos to Ms Parker.

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  7. CEDA stands for Chester Economic Development Authority's. Its main purpose is to promote business growth and attract new investment in the City. If Widener and Crozer are two of Chester's biggest employers, isn't helping them helping Chester citizens?

    The well being of Chester's citizens isn't CEDAs mission. Business development is their mission. If well being Chester citizens are business minded, they can apply to CEDA for a grant. Wouldn't it be great to see Chester people owning businesses in their own community?

    Who cares who pays the salary of the CEDA director? Isn't it better to not come out of the city budget?

    Dave brought us Harrah's and PPL Park. Don't think those two entities would have happened without him, and neither of them were CEDA projects specifically. His reach extended outside of his role with CEDA. Harrah's pumps $10 million in the city budget. Chester's budget would not balance without it. Harrah's paid to include the Chester Upland School District residents to go to DCCC at half price. Isn't that helping Chester citizens? PPL Park brings payroll taxes and a lot of exposure to Chester. What's that worth?

    I was never a newsman. What needs to be researched? I never knocked Ms. Parker's role with CEDA but I am curious why she left. The real newsmen haven't seemed to ask that question in the reports I've read.

    We'll be sure to watch the progress of the Main Street program. Will it ever contribute $10 million dollars to the city budget? If so, when? It's a great pipe dream but the city needs development now. I don't see any major construction going on.

    Who does an investor contact who wants to do business in Chester now? Who's cutting the deals?

    Chester needs more to cheer about. I'll continue to cheer for anyone who's doing good work. I encourage you to do the same for the people you know.

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  8. gov rendall not dave roots your are way off you slave

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    1. The gov didn't run CEDA did he? What's ur point?

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  9. THANK YOU MR ROOTS! I need a JOB and then I'll work on my families well being. Crime is overtaking this city because people need JOBS not a sermon on my well being. I am still waiting on all of those businesses just waiting to do business with this administration. Oh well I guess that was a lie too.

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