At the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency meeting today, Commissioner Bill Proctor made an impassioned argument and a motion for the inclusion of the Network Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (NEBA) on the Economic Vitality Competitiveness Committee (EVCC).
His colleagues responded by approving his motion 9-2. The motion was seconded by City Commissioner Scott Maddox. Mayor Andrew Gillum and County Commissioner Bryan Desloge voted against the motion.
The debate over the make-up of the EVCC began shortly after Ben Pingree notified the IA that Sean Pittman would be the representative for the Big Bend Minority Chamber. This means that Mr. Pittman and his wife, Audra Pittman, who is representing COCA, will be serving together on the EVCC.
TR will have a story on this issue soon.
Two NEBA members spoke during the public comments session about including their group.
Hugh Tomlinson described NEBA as a 25 year old group with over 300 business members and asked the IA to amend the list.
Ted Thomas spoke on behalf of adding NEBA, but also reminded the IA that the Tallahassee Board of Realtors, with over 1,000 members, and the Tallahassee Builder’s Association were not included on the EVCC.
After the speakers, Desloge made a motion to accept the list as was presented and review the process a year down the road. City Commissioner Nancy Miller seconded the motion.
However, Proctor, concerned about the lack of inclusiveness with the EVCC, told his colleagues that NEBA is one of the only groups with “a spine to stand-up to the city and county commissions. I can’t win a straw poll there, but I respect them.”
“We just got back from Nashville where we learned that we should put a diverse group of people in a room and let them bang heads. Well, NEBA is a head banger. They should be included.”
He added, “we should choose to be inclusive over exclusive.”
Proctor’s substitute motion, which also included the Downtown Tallahassee Business Association and the Council of Neighborhood Associations, was then presented and passed by the IA.
Check back for updates on this report.