I have always believed that one of the major strengths of a community the size of Conyers-Rockdale is its Chamber of Commerce.
We are fortunate even in these troublesome times to have a Chamber that is not only respected for its efforts statewide but nationwide as well. This has happened because the Chamber has an established leadership program that it chooses its leaders from.
One of the major functions of our Chamber is economic development. For years there has been a group, including the city, the county, the school system and others, that has banded together to work on economic development for the county. The major arm created by this group is the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council. Through the efforts and monetary support of the interested parties I have mentioned, the county is showing steady economic growth, which is the envy of many other counties around the state.
A few years ago because of an overreach of power, then-county chair Richard Oden tried his best to destroy this approach to positive economic development. His intent was to increase his power by bringing economic development under the complete control of his administration. His attempt, fortunately, was defeated especially because of the support of then-county commissioner Oz Nesbitt.
Oden did succeed in destroying a source of good future county leadership by making it so that anybody who did not live in Rockdale County could not be a part of any county board.
It has been brought to my attention that there is now an attempt again for the county to pull its resourses out of the CREDC and provide economic development through complete county control.
This would be a complete disaster. It would not only cost the taxpayers of the county a tremendous amount of revenue that would most likely call for an increase in property taxes, but it would also create political disaster from which the citizens of the county will never be able to rid themselves.
What is interesting about this latest effort to have the county completely control economic development is that basically it has been done under the cover of darkness. We have been told a small group was formed to make recommendations to the commissioners at their December meeting. It is my understanding that the commissioners all act as if they don’t know much about this. This alone seems untrue and strange.
If you would like more information, contact the Chamber or Scot Ward the current chair.
We need to continue to have a strong Chamber. Without economic development as one of its pillars, it will make your Chamber less effective to deal with your business needs.
I urge you to contact the commissioners and be prepared to jump through hoops to reach them, but don’t quit trying.
A special note to Oz Nesbitt — don’t forget who brought you to the dance in the first place.
T. Pat Cavanaugh
Former Chairman of the Board
Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce