Petition calls on ALEDA to be placed under city jurisdiction

Published 9:30 am Sunday, August 11, 2013

A petition is circulating throughout the community that asks the Albert Lea City Council to consider bringing the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency back under the jurisdiction of the council.

Former Albert Lea Mayor Randy Erdman, former City Councilor John Severtson and resident Mark Smed will be collecting signatures over the next 60 days to submit to the council.

Erdman said the petition is focused mainly on opening up the public dialogue about the agency and looking at whether it has been successful and is working the way it was intended.

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He said he was on the City Council when ALEDA originated, and the original plan was to have “the best of the best” in the community working on economic development and trying to help Albert Lea grow.

“It’s been 10 years and there’s a personnel change right now, so we felt as community members that this is the time to have a public discussion on what’s happened the last 10 years,” Erdman said. “There’s quite a few people who would like to maybe take a good look right now.”

He said the three men are trying to get community stakeholders, and any other residents who wish, to sign.

Former ALEDA Executive Director Dan Dorman, who accepted a job last month as the executive director of the Greater Minnesota Economic Development Partnership, said he thinks people should support the organization, as it does not require any subsidy from the city or Freeborn County. It is self-funded through its land sales, building ownership, leases and asset management.

He said he is proud the agency has been able to replace manufacturing jobs that were lost during the recession.