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Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) approves economic work

By Phillip Molnar
Monterey Herald

[Editor’s note: Santa Cruz Tech Beat previously published $100K approved for Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, plus an offer to match, November 20, 2014.]

The Fort Ord Reuse Authority gave $100,000 to a new regional economic effort Friday, despite some opposition from the board and public.

The lump sum to the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership will be used for growing the economy in a three-county area, fora-logonot just Fort Ord.

Growing out of a failed search for an authority economic development director, local investor Bud Colligan agreed to match FORA’s investment with an additional $100,000.

“We’re all trying to do the same thing,” Colligan said. “I had some reservations for an economic development specialist for FORA because I felt it was part of a greater region.”

Colligan was part of the team that interviewed candidates for the economic development position. The annual salary would have been $164,000 for a two-year contract, but candidates balked at the pay and short duration of the contract.

Some board members objected because they felt there was not enough oversight of how the money would be spent.

“I don’t think it is appropriate to spend . . . the public’s money without knowing what is going to be delivered,” Monterey County Supervisor Jane Parker said.

Executive Officer Michael Houlemard said the partnership would not give “dollar for dollar” accounts, but would give regular reports to the board and had specific benefits, such as providing research and data to the authority.

CSU Monterey Bay President Eduardo Ochoa, who is not a voting member, said approval made sense because he had “confidence in the abilities of the individuals involved to move forward the economic development agenda.”

The partnership covers Monterey, Santa Cruz or San Benito counties. Eighteen entities have signed on to the partnership, including Monterey County, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Gonzales, Santa Cruz, Sand City and Greenfield.

Continue reading article here: http://www.montereyherald.com/government-and-politics/20141212/fora-approves-economic-work

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