Just amazing, absolutely amazing, the Fall River Office of Economic Development's contract with the city's Redevelopment Authority expired this past Sunday. I guess they call it Mother's Day for a reason.
Don't these people have any idea on how to set a reminder in MS Outlook or on their cell phone? Too high tech? How about just marking it down on a calendar or something?
Well we've got to be fair here and remember this just "slipped through the cracks". After all we have a new mayor and new board members. And we have to remember the Redevelopment Authority and the FROED are both involved in a lot of projects such as shorting downtown of parking, fouling up a downtown bus terminal, doing nothing to develop our waterfront, holding up the building of the BioPark, failing to submit an application for short sea shipping, and handing out tax breaks for any mom and pop shop that wants one.
For the love of God, how did they not know this was going to expire? C'mon, really.. I KNEW it was going to expire, you'd think the people directly involved would have a clue. It's not like this information is super secret and tough to come by. Fall River-tastic made me aware of this back in December! Should I send you the link Kenny?
So the good news is the contract has expired, the bad news is we're looking to put another one in place, short-term, until we get some bids submitted for a 3 year contract. The problem is who is going to bid? It seems we get the services of FROED for the bargain rate of $90,000 a year. That makes it tough for someone to submit a competitive bid, and tough to argue for handling all this 'in-house'. The problem with a bargain rate is you usually get what you paid for. And the reality is when you factor in monies that are earmarked for Fall River and handed over to FROED you're probably looking at 100's of thousands of dollars, not just 90k.
So the contract has expired. I think it's time we take a good hard look at the achievements and success of the FROED, because to be honest, I don't see a hell of a lot of economic development. Wasn't it Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Maybe it's time to look outside the box and come up with a different approach to economic development here in Fall River.