While many organizations have tried to form groups to promote development on a multi-jurisdictional level, few have succeeded to the extent of the Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative.
That was the assessment of Michael Conduff, of Denton, Texas, who on Wednesday addressed a gathering of elected officials and others from counties and communities involved in the regional initiative.
Conduff said he checked with the National League of Cities and was told it’s rare to find organizations like the regional group, which involves a seven-county area in three states in programs to expand jobs, increase private investment and promote an improved quality of life in the region.
“What you find is that lots of groups talk about it, but to actually create the organization, fund it and get it functioning is very rare,” said Conduff, who is a former city manager in Pittsburg, Kan.
After serving as a city manager in communities in Kansas and Texas, Conduff formed the Elim Group, which provides governing, leadership and training services to organizations including the International City/County Management Association and the National League of Cities.
In addition to elected officials from cities and counties, Wednesday’s gathering at Downstream Casino Resort also involved representatives of groups that work with local governments, along with several state representatives and staff members who serve members of Congress from the area.
Creating a council of governments involving officials in the region is a goal of the group, along with determining the regional issues that should become part of a legislative agenda.
Conduff said he hopes the initiative will succeed “in helping everyone see we’re all in this together.”
“The stakes are higher than they used to be because the competition, and the economy, are a lot tougher,” he said.
MICHAEL CONDUFF, who received his master’s in business administration from Pittsburg (Kan.) State University, writes a regular column for Public Management magazine. He has written a number of books about achievement, governing and public administration.