Chuck Chadwick, Moorhead, Published December 08 2013
Chadwick: Restaurant revelation unfortunate
The question isn’t whether The Forum had the right to publish the information. In the world of economic development, the question is will the premature release of negotiations be harmful or helpful to our community, and what part does the press have in the process. After all, the public/private partnerships that are critical to the growth and success of our city will be eventually released not as rumors but as fact.
There are numerous reasons why the negotiations are not in the public arena. The process can be described as making sausage; it is better not to see it being made. In the art of negotiations, there are many different options that are discussed – some valid and others just for bargaining chips. In some situations, there’s simply nothing to report, as indicated by Juan Mondragon, owner of Juano’s.
Experiences have taught us that the worst kind of economic development is that which is done in the public eye. Of course, government needs to be transparent in their dealings. However, there is a fine line when it comes to private sector entities that are interested in locating in Moorhead. How to balance the rights of privacy of those companies with the public right to know?
Economic development with public/private partnerships involves the competitive nature of attracting business and industry and the professionalism of confidentiality in such dealings. Businesses simply refuse to discuss their plans publicly because they may be bombarded by special interests, politicians, job seekers, competing developers or perhaps others with just an ax to grind. There’s simply no positive return on investments made too early.
Therefore, it is in the best interest of all parties, public and private, to keep development opportunities in confidence until either the business owner decides to make an announcement or an action is needed that requires a public vote.
Moorhead has some exciting opportunities ahead. The MBA and others have expressed confidence that business development director Maslowski appears to be headed in the right direction. Premature and inadequate information is counterproductive for Moorhead’s economic development opportunities. Patience is a virtue. Loose lips sink ships.
Chadwick is executive director of the Moorhead Business Association.