According to the FY2013-2014 adopted budget, the Economic Development Coordinator will work under the supervision of the Director of Community Development providing assistance to businesses contemplating investment and/or growth in the City of Royal Oak and actively recruit new business to Royal Oak.
The position was requested during the city's an 2013 strategic planning session. One year later, this objective has risen to the top of the priorities list.
[Read: Prioritizing Priorities: City Commissioners Rank Goals]
Schneider said the Chamber's position regarding the Economic Development Coordinator was:
- the position should be a city-wide position
- the focus should be principally to attract new business
- at a minimum the city should look at who this position is going to report to
Schneider reminded City Commissioners in December they green-lighted a parking deal for Royal Oak-based Vectorform with the intention of keeping the superstar tech company within the city's limits.
"Vectorform isn't a downtown organization. They are moving to the downtown," Schneider said. "That tells the Chamber if we were to focus this position just on the Central Business District or the DDA (Downtown Development Authority), we're missing out on opportunities to recruit businesses to 11 Mile, along Woodward, Campbell Road or the north-end light industrial."
"Also when Vectorform was here, they talked about how when they were in Texas at a trade show or recruiting show, people were blown away to hear that they were in Royal Oak," Schneider said. "That tells me that the principal focus of this position should be to go out and attract business. People shouldn't be blown away by the fact that we have good businesses and good opportunities here in Michigan and specifically in Royal Oak."
Finally, Schneider expressed concern that the current budget has this position reporting to the development director through planning and development.
"This position should have the freedom to make observations when there are other mechanisms in the city that are a hinderance to business. They should be free to talk about those things, make observations, make corrections, without having to worrying about who they report to and so forth," Schneider said. "So the Chamber would ask you to take a clear look at who this person is going to report to and the chain of command for that."