As of Friday, July 19, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
DULUTH — Decisions on how public funding will be used for economic development were tabled Friday, during the first meeting of a new nonprofit.
The lunch hour session was mostly organizational for the Partnership Gwinnett Public Funding Entity (PFE), created to allow public scrutiny of the government funds given for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce economic development effort.
“I think we have moved in the right direction and I feel good about how we have the organization set up,” said Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who insisted the nonprofit be formed after complaints that Chamber of Commerce records were not subject to Georgia’s sunshine laws. “I continue to feel good abot having the cooperative spirit for economic development.”
The 10-member board (seven are voting members) will oversee the more than $850,000 in public funds donated annually to the Partnership Gwinnett effort, including contributions from the county government, school board, convention and visitors bureau, local municipalities and community improvement districts. The private donations will continue to be maintained through the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, which is not subject to the state open records law, said Chamber senior vice president Nick Masino, an ex-officio member of the nonprofit board.
During Friday’s meeting, Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette was chosen to serve as board chairman, while Gwinnett Village CID Director Chuck Warbington was named CEO and the tourism board’s Lisa Anders was elected secretary-treasurer.
“It’s all about openness and now we have a clear channel for that,” Burnette said, adding that the city’s contribution to the effort has been worth the expense. “It’s all good for the county. It’s important for the quality of life and provides jobs. … I think the whole county has really benefitted.”