WEEDC Board Must Go

Header-image-TuomiBy Robert Tuomi

(WINDSOR, ON) – It turns out ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens, facing a crisis in the way economic development is practiced in the region, has come to a rather serious and obvious fork in the road. He can take the required decisive action or he can continue to affirm his flighty nature.

Doing nothing is not something new for the hapless mayor. He earned his ineffective sobriquet honestly enough when he abdicated chairmanship of the Francis Council’s standing committee on economic development. Things were so bad under his lacklustre tenure the committee had to be folded into planning.

In other words, it was shut down.

Windsor continues to suffer the highest unemployment in the land. The people hired to change a rather drastic predicament have clearly failed by not even spending the money they were assigned. They, like Dilkens, have abdicated their responsibilities.

It gets worse.

Things have become so relaxed, the chair of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation’s board boasts some $2.3 million his outfit has been sitting on will not even be needed. According to Marty Komsa, in a report published in the local paper, the city faces a rather bleak future in which pitches to try and win new job creating factories, are, “… not likely to increase as much in the future.”

Dilkens has a choice.

He can let this stand or he can do what is right and order Komsa and his fellow directors to step down, immediately.

What he does will surely prove whether or not he has the mettle to be a mayor willing to make the hard decisions, or conclusively prove he is on the job simply for personal glory.

It is expected he will allow the board and the staff to continue on their merry way, despite the operation’s current leader proudly boasting that he has no experience, skills, or training in economic development.

The reason is simple.

Dilkens is far too obsessed with putting himself on the same level playing field as Vladimir Putin and rich Qatar despotic sheiks. It is why he is spending some $21 million to host a FINA competition in order, allegedly, to win a few accolades from the swimming organization; arguably, giving him a place in the world spotlight.

It is a particular case of vanity at all cost.

If, as predicted, he takes no action on the economic development crisis, it will simply telegraph his lack of interest in the city’s dire situation and an obvious preference to spend taxpayer money for his own acclaim.

Admittedly, making wholesale changes at the development office is daunting, but it’s long overdue. But, it must be done if the city is going to start to climb out of its current malaise.

To fix the region’s economy, Dilkens and the county warden have to undertake a complete housecleaning and literally start from scratch to build a high performing organization not willing to accept Komsa’s apparent theory that little can be done.

It is quite clear, with the latest unemployment figures, the mess the region is in is not getting better. This alone should signal its experiment with using people with no economic development experience or qualifications is a dismal failure.

Windsor needs to assemble a team of highly trained and skilled economic developers, much like its competitors have done. Waterloo is the most recent good example.

Windsor needs an equal team able to take the world by storm and prove Komsa has no prescient skills.

If Dilkens does not show this type of leadership, and willingness to take the bull by the horns, he is simply telling all that he a failure who is not up to the task. Readers should prepare to place their bets.

No doubt, the naïve will bet on Dilkens and become easy marks for the more informed gamblers.

Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.

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1 Comment on "WEEDC Board Must Go"

  1. Robert you are 100% correct, we need qualified people that can address the issues of new companies who want to open up shop in Windsor. Having a lawyer or a Politian on the WEEDC committee has proven to be useless nothing gets done.

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