LEDC under fire for lack of disclosure to councillors
Daryl Newcombe, CTV London
Published Thursday, August 8, 2019 6:43PM EDT
The London Economic Development Corporation's event recognizing four mid-sized companies that recently grew their workforces is drawing fire from Councillor Shawn Lewis.
Lewis says it is not the type of results-oriented reporting that he and his colleagues are expecting.
"I don't want events like we had this morning to update councillors and the community. I want these reports to come through council channels.”
The LEDC receives $2.3 million each year from city hall to attract and retain companies in London.
In June, Lewis was among several city councillors calling on the LEDC to provide them with more information about its activities and results.
At the time Councillor Josh Morgan was frank saying, “From time to time I'm not sure what role the LEDC may have played in some of our work in economic development.”
Ultimately, council extended the contract for just six months, giving city staff time to add new conditions to the next contract about measuring progress and reporting to council.
Lewis suggests one approach, “I would like to see LEDC coming before the Corporate Services Committee quarterly and reporting on where they are.”
LEDC CEO Kapil Lakhotia says they are responding to councillors’ concerns.
"We are certainly reflecting on our communications practices internally, trying to make sure that we are proactively communicating these things."
Both Mayor Ed Holder and city manager Martin Hayward have positions on the LEDC board of directors.
Holder says, “As a board member you receive stats on a pretty regular basis but what I think our council was looking for is to receive some additional information, more than just the annual report.”
Given the mayor recently declared a "jobs crisis" in London, Lewis believes more attention should be paid to setting and achieving future goals, rather than celebrating past accomplishments.
"It's over $2 million in public funds being spent every year. And I don't want to see it spent on receptions. I want to see it spent on staff time doing what needs to happen.”