During the past five years I’ve been none too impressed with the performance of DRED Commissioner George Bald and this is from several positions. I was hoping that when his term expired that Governor Lynch would bring in some new ideas and experience and someone that would at least attempt to stop the slide into double digit statewide unemployment numbers.
It didn’t happen.
So at this point I decided to look at northern New Hampshire and all that has happened against the backdrop of the leadership at DRED itself. As all of you know Coos county isn’t a pretty picture. The closure of mills, the loss of thousands of jobs and all leading to societal and family statistics that characterize communities that no longer have either a cash crop or any source of substantial taxbase. This was also the end of an industry that has existed almost as long as New Hampshire itself.
Thousands of people have lost their jobs in a downfall that didn’t happen overnight, and what was the response of DRED and Commissioner Bald?
Then I stated looking at DRED itself. A Director of Economic Development that has been in interim status for how long? And what exactly is this office doing for economic development in the state of New Hampshire? Then I continued on. New Hampshire has an Office of International Commerce and a long-term Director, Dawn Wivell. What exactly has her office done to create jobs and economic development for New Hampshire?
The capper for me was the recent press release showing the business seminar on Hall Street in Concord featuring a live audience. I’m thinking that DRED and its leadership can’t respond to real issues and real people but they can sponsor a fun show in the make believe world of what-if. Better yet, maybe it’s a reality show based on the DRED version of reality. I think that sounds better. NH politically correct.
So at this point I decided to contact Executive Councilor Ray Burton to see if he was planning on voting to confirm Bald to another term. As a part of my inquiry I asked what exactly Commissioner Bald has done for northern New Hampshire. I also briefly explained some of the economic development projects that are happening in nearby states as a basis for my questions and frustration at the performance of the DRED Commissioner.
Well, three phone calls and an e-mail later I finally got a response, via e-mail. Councilor Burton explained that the Commissioner has a very difficult task or trying to balance tourism, industrial, environmental, state parks and wood industry interests all at the same time. Burton went on to say “On balance Commissioner Bald has done a very admirable task in carrying out NH law and budget.”
My frustration deepens as I’m reading this. Can this be real? What exactly has Commissioner Bald balanced in the past five years? The wood industry interests?
The mills are all closed.
To Be Continued…