For the last few years, the city has paid employee Ray Boudreaux to be the Chamber's faithful errand boy and to attend meetings and take notes about economic development, but he has also been required to spend half time as the valet for corporate jet owners at Drake Field. It looks like that has been a waste of money, but at best you could say results have been hard to measure and there has been no damage done. That's about it.
Under Fred Hanna, Fayetteville's last Republican mayor, the city forked over $100,000 a year to the Chamber of Cowbirds with no strings attached to do economic development. That arrangement ended after city revenues nosedived when the Chamber endorsed moving all commercial airlines to XNA, causing Fayetteville the loss of its public airport and a considerable number of high paying jobs. That proved to be a total disaster.
Coody called for an end to the city's dependence on outside special interests, such as the Fayetteville Chamber of Cowbirds. "I hope they can help us as much as they can, but the city needs a strategy that's compatible with
Sounding again like the man we thought we were electing in 2000, Mayor Coody called for a unique approach to community and economic development and said, "I hope the council sees how important that is. If our economic development strategy is built on the foundation of sustainability, it makes the more long-term [goals] compatible with the philosophy of our city." Amen to that.