If you haven't seen it yet, KMOV took to task RCGA President and CEO, Dick Fleming, for ignoring repeated requests for an interview (video below). The most important issue here is not Dick Fleming himself and it serves little purpose to fixate on him. Was his $1.8M salary from 2008-2009 a lot? Sure. But what is the budget of RCGA? What positive result has their staff of nearly 40 produced? What's being achieved with the millions spent on marketing, meetings and galas? The KMOV piece needs and deserves extensive follow-up with a focus on RCGA's role and what we, as a region, need to do better.
Here's hoping that Tim Logan at the Post-Dispatch, who's been asking the right questions on Twitter, will dig in a bit more and help the rest of us better understand the RCGA. As Tim has noted, the RCGA serves its members in the business community and not necessarily the region as a whole. In the KMOV piece we see that the Mayor of Fenton doesn't believe that his community has received even $900 worth of services from the RCGA, the dollar amount of their annual membership. The big issue? The St. Louis region doesn't have a publicly accountable regional economic development organization, and the publicly accountable East-West Gateway Council of Governments doesn't appear able to tell us what the RCGA does.
Watch the video below, but let's make sure we're asking the right questions. The RCGA has an important stated mission, "To unite the region's business community and to engage dynamic business and civic leadership to develop and sustain a world-class economy and community." The issue should be how well they address this task and if there's a better way to do so for the region.