Confidentiality an issue

22 Jul

Mars Chocolate. Available to buy online in Australia from http://www.moolollybar.com.au. To go there just click on this photo!Key players involved in negotiations between Go Topeka and Mars Chocolate North America had to sign nondisclosure agreements, said Steve Jenkins, senior vice president of Go Topeka Economic Partnership.

Put another way, mum was the word on talks between Go Topeka and the candy company.

“It was extremely important for them to do the search without it becoming public knowledge,” Jenkins said. “If they (announcements) are made prematurely, it can damage the chance to get a project. Confidentiality is extremely important in this business.”

Mars Chocolate North America and Go Topeka on Wednesday announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Topeka’s Kanza Fire Commerce Park.

Jenkins said it is common for businesses looking for locations to demand nondisclosure agreements.

Go Topeka made its first proposal in September, and Mars officials visited Topeka later that month, Jenkins said.

Topeka was selected out of 82 potential sites in 13 states. Mars narrowed its decision to 10 sites and then to four sites, Jenkins said.

It was then whittled down to Topeka.

Topeka City Councilman Andrew Gray, who also is a voting member on the Joint Economic Development Organization, recently introduced a resolution to have the city clerk post all JEDO public records that are in the city clerk’s possession to the city’s website.

It also would ask the Shawnee County clerk to provide copies of JEDO public records in her possession to the city clerk for posting on the city’s website.

JEDO is a body of city and county elected officials. It oversees the use of money raised for economic development and infrastructure improvements by a countywide, half-cent sales tax.

Doug Kinsinger, Go Topeka president and chief executive officer, said earlier this week that local economic development efforts cold be harmed by making JEDO records available online to competing communities or economic development organizations.

“Confidentiality on this project was of the upmost importance as they required our staff, myself and others who were involved in the project to sign nondisclosure agreements,” Kinsinger said Wednesday afternoon. “They would have pulled the project from our community. It was a very competitive project. We were all trying to make sure we had the best offer, but we didn’t want to broadcast what our competitive proposals were to other communities around the nation.”

City council members on Tuesday deferred action on Gray’s resolution.

 

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JEDO contracts with Go Topeka, a private organization, to administer the economic development program financed by proceeds from the half-cent sales tax, which generates about $14 million annually.

JEDO will consider the incentive proposal offered to Mars, dubbed Project Pepper, at is July 11 meeting, said Vic Miller, chairman of the Shawnee County Commission and a voting member of JEDO.

In an email to Gray, Miller said he thinks Go Topeka and Kinsinger do a “fantastic job and am in full support of their efforts to make our community a thriving center of economic development. However, I do not share his concerns regarding your resolution. I firmly believe that public records should be as easily obtained by members of the public as is practically possible.

“As to fear that our ‘competitors’ will somehow get a leg up on us by the public records being on the city’s website — the pertinent information they might seek is already available at, literally, the touch of a key.”

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Miller told The Topeka Capital-Journal that nondisclosure agreements are “a standard in the industry of people who are looking for sites.”

“They don’t want you to be bragging about being at the top of the list,” Miller said.

But he said there comes a point when a “public body” has to vote on incentive packages and that information is made available at a public meeting.

“To me, the resistance (to place the information online) is unnecessary,” he said.

Article posted by Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar
The best online chocolate, lolly and confectionery store on the web!

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Source: The Topeka Capital Journal

Buy Bulk American Chocolate online at Moo-Lolly-Bar Australia

 

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