CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

June 16, 2013

NARCOG’S chance to shine


The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The North-central Alabama Regional Council of Governments is expected to name a new director in the coming week, a move that should return a sense of direction and stability to the organization.

The past year has been chaotic for the regional organization, which includes representatives from local governments in a three-county region. Arguments over the voting structure within NARCOG, which at times appeared to favor Cullman County, led to a couple of local governments pulling out of the organization.

Since those days, which nearly led to the abandonment of the organization, more reasonable minds have assumed the leadership roles on the board. Fewer politicians are involved in the decisions, which is a blessing, and the voting structure is more fairly weighted.

Councils of local government are set up across the state in regions. The organizations can assist with grants, oversee valuable programs for senior citizens, and assist business development. The idea behind the councils is to provide related regions a stronger sense of unity in addressing needs and speeding economic development. The only flaw in the organizations was clearly illustrated when internal politics among politicians brought about a nearly complete breakdown of the council’s purpose. In fact, one person who had agreed to serve as director pulled out because of the uncertainty at NARCOG.

The board’s decision to use an outside firm to conduct the search for a new director was a good move. While NARCOG’s purpose is to assist Cullman, Morgan and Lawrence counties with various services, the idea that a director had to be from one of these counties was always misguided thinking.

As the time approaches to select a new director, NARCOG’s governing board has an opportunity to bring the organization back with greater effectiveness and purpose for the region.

The competitive nature of economic development and the shortage of government funds at every level should make NARCOG a valuable resource for the region. This region has much in common and sharing resources and expertise will go a long way in surviving economically.

The new director should have a clear mission to serve unselfishly for the NARCOG region.