TALLADEGA -- The Industrial Development Board plays a key roll in recruiting industry to the city of Talladega.
And we’re talking real industry -- not another fast food restaurant. We’re talking industry that pays salaries that can support a family, which are few and far between in Talladega.
So having people in place who are responsible for guiding those efforts is vital to Talladega’s current and future growth.
Talladega City Council has emphasized this need, even formally making it part of the city manager’s job description.
But, even with four open positions on the Industrial Development Board, they recently chose not to appoint First Bank of Alabama Vice President Chip Moore to one of the open positions.
Here’s what happened.
Moore applied for one of the open seats on the board, and during a meeting last month, Councilman David Street made a motion to appoint Moore to the board. That motion died for lack of a second. According to an article by The Daily Home’s Chris Norwood, Councilman Ricky Simpson said he would have abstained had the appointment been brought to a vote. Moore was also overlooked for an appointment to the TOP Trails board of directors.
At last week’s council meeting, Street read into the record a letter from Moore asking not to be considered for any board appointments.
“Given the recent actions taken by the council regarding my potential appointments for two open board positions, I have decided that I am no longer interested in serving in any capacity for the city at this time,” Moore wrote. “I respectfully request that my name be withdrawn for the position on the IDB, and that my name not be put forth for any appointments without my specific consent in the immediate future.”
We don’t know why the council would snub someone with Moore’s business credentials to serve on a board whose responsible for recruiting business. He’s the vice president of one of the most successful businesses in Talladega; he has business connections all over and outside of the county; he’s demonstrated his commitment to civic duty, having served on the boards of Palmer Place and Callie’s Kids, the Civil Service Board, Ritz Theatre, Hall of Heroes, Talladega 175 and the Chamber of Commerce.
We don’t know whether Moore could have gotten a majority of the votes had anyone simply seconded the motion.
And we don’t know how effective the Industrial Development Board can be if those four seats continue to go unfilled.
What we do know is that Chip Moore works with and for First Alabama Bank President Chad Jones.
We do know that Jones publicly undressed the council for not supporting the second Christmas on the Square a year ago.
We do know that Jones also chastised the council for firing former City Manager Patrick Bryant without cause.
We know, from things like Christmas on the Square, that Talladega is not above being small-minded, petty and non-transparent in going about a good-ole-boy approach to local politics.
Had Moore been one of several people applying for a single spot on the Industrial Development Board, overlooking him might have been excusable. But turning down such a highly qualified candidate who was the only applicant for four open positions is indefensible.
There are many positive developments in Talladega, including Talladega College and AIDB and the Presbyterian Home for Children and Ritz Theatre and First Bank of Alabama and Kevin Smith’s redevelopment work on the Square.
But it’s childish, small-town moves like snubbing Moore for the Industrial Development Board that, without a change in leadership, will keep Talladega from being anything other than Talladega.