Transparency, executive director issues for Focus Forward group

Jul 9, 2013

The region’s new economic development effort plans to unveil steps towards meeting its five-year goals at the end of the month. But Focus Forward C.I. continues to deal with calls for more transparency in its meeting process. The policy steering committee met Tuesday without taking any action on a five-year budget or voting to make the group separate from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. Tri-County board chair Larry Whitaker says that’s because the meeting wasn’t properly noticed:

 “Specifically the agendas have to be posted at the primary offices of the organization, at the location of the meeting has to be posted on the organization’s website if it has one managed by a full-time person.  And more importantly the members of the news media have to be notified.  And in this particular meeting, none of things were done,” Whitaker says.

 The meeting comes at a time when some are calling for assurance that new bylaws for the re-vamped Economic Development Council follow the spirit of the Open Meetings Act. Tri-County and Peoria County also are withholding payments for FFCI consultant work until they get more information. Both the bylaws and other issues, like whether to hire an executive director for FFCI, are still being hammered out.