Thursday, December 11, 2008

SEWRPC's One-Man Development Section Speaks Volumes About Agency's Limitations

The other day I posted an item about stale and inaccurate data in the economic development profile created by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission for the City of Milwaukee.

You would think that economic development would be a basic priority and theme at a regional planning agency whose territory includes more than one-third of the state's population, its largest city, and a host of issues that have development at their core.

I took a look Wednesday at the roster at this agency with its more-than-$7 million-annual, all-public-funded-budget that is posted on the agency website, and see that the economic development planning section has one employee, a chief economic planner.

One staffer, out of 77.

This is a management issue. A commission issue: where is the rest of the team?

Link here.

Any wonder that the public/private M-7 collaborative got created a few years ago?

Again I ask: what is the City of Milwaukee getting out of this seven-county planning operation, to which it sends more than $200,000 annually through the County's more than $400,000 property tax payment to SEWRPC?

How can you have an effective regional agenda refined and pushed at SEWRPC that could be relevant to Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, West Allis, West Milwaukee and other cities with employment and related challenges if the regional planning agency devotes token resources to the subject matter?

The region's cities, suburbs, villages and towns all suffer under such a laissez-faire approach.

And isn't this really a lens through which the big picture out at SEWRPC can be viewed: economic development and other overarching themes and parameters missing from big SEWRPC studies, like the pending water supply plan, because the agency approaches things piecemeal - - except that studies must validate the now-archaic, sprawl-inducing master Land Use Plan.

With economic news and change breaking and breaking out daily, with a new green economy offering development possibilities to those on the cutting edge, and with so many pressing economic needs in the region, how could SEWRPC have but one economic development staffer on board without people reading "Missed Opportunities" into the SEWRPC mission statement?

And seeing that reality in the mix of reasons why the agency needs a more contemporary, action-oriented agenda, with energized staffers hired or unleashed by bold new managers - - outcomes that Milwaukee can only achieve with its planning dollars through a new agency that puts cities and people first.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

M-7 is a joke like SEWRPC a good old boy network that does little more then lives off the tax payers dime.