Editorial: Inconsistency is some cause for concern

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

The Premium Pork proposal for an Albert Lea plant and corporate headquarters seems to hold the potential for good things, but a few nagging questions cast some doubt on the situation.

It would only take a simple phone call or statement from the company to clear up the inconsistencies in the stories given to officials in St. Joseph, Mo. and Albert Lea &045; and who knows where else, as the company is supposedly talking to one or more other cities, as well.

One city is told there are going to be two plants. Another is told there is only one. Which is it? If Albert Lea ends up being the place where only a packinghouse is built, without the corporate headquarters, the city has promised to withdraw its offer of assistance. The headquarters means everything. That’s why the question about the number of plants is crucial. If a different city gets the plant with the headquarters, the situation changes completely.

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And how many jobs are we really talking about? At first, the number 2,000 was paraded around &045; 300 of those supposedly corporate, white-collar jobs &045; but now Premium Pork has either backed off that number or given different information to the different cities. Now, we’re hearing 1,000.

The secrecy under which Premium Pork is operating makes it admittedly difficult for them to make public statements or answer press inquiries, and we’ve been repeatedly told that secrecy is necessary to protect their corporate interests. That may be true, but Albert Lea needs to know what it is getting into if it accepts this plant.

Perhaps these questions will be cleared up soon enough. That’s our hope. The city is not locked into anything yet, so any talk of the future plant is still all speculation, but we hope and expect that the company will start to be more forthcoming if and when an agreement is reached.