Council gets together on economic issues

Two council committees scheduled meetings to discuss the same issue.
SALEM -- After a conflicting start, Salem council members decided to work together.
Councilman Justin Palmer, the head of council's economic development committee, last week had called a committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss several economic issues.
Councilwoman Mary Lou Popa had later called a meeting for a committee of the whole to discuss employment at 6 p.m. Monday
Council members have been concerned that Sekely Industries Inc. is closing its tool and die operation and ending about 100 jobs.
When it became obvious that Palmer's committee was talking about the same issues as Popa's, Atty. Earl A. Schory II, a member of Palmer's committee, said council members could either join in or they could wait until 6 p.m. In the end, Palmer's committee ended its session and waited 20 minutes for the committee of the whole session to begin.
Chamber report
Audrey Null, the executive director of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, told the committees that one of its goals was greater outreach to manufacturers in the area.
The chamber had been trying calls, letters and personal contacts to reach businesses. But Null said that making contacts with local companies had been very difficult.
The chamber is committed to meeting with industries and wants to help them network, she said.
She asked that city Auditor James Armeni, treasurer Robert Tullis, city's income tax administrator Fred Palmer, Justin Palmer and Councilman Greg Oesch form a delegation from the city to work with the chamber.
The chamber is about 16 months into a 24-month planning session for the city's future, including economic issues.
A business consultant, David Nestic of Salem, has hosted networking sessions for local business people that were well-attended.
He said networking sessions, as well as traditional efforts to lure businesses from other areas, are all part of economic development.

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