[July 18, 2014]LINCOLN - Tuesday evening at the
Lincoln City Council's Committee of the Whole, Mayor Keith Snyder
and Alderman Tom O’Donohue offered an update on the progress being
made by the Unified Organizations Committee (UOC).
The UOC formed earlier this year with a goal of examining the
various organizations within the county that work to promote
economic growth and stability within the county. Included in that
list of organizations is the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of
Commerce, the Development Partnership of Lincoln and Logan County,
the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau, Main Street Lincoln, the city of
Lincoln, and the county of Logan.
One key component of the examination was to identify redundancy
within the various organizations and determine would they be more
effective in their efforts if they combined resources. In defining
resources, this meant not only cash but manpower.
Tuesday evening Snyder offered a review of the purpose of the UOC,
then moved on to discuss the most recent 2-day meeting of the
committee held at the end of June.
He explained that for that meeting the UOC, which has representation
from all of the involved organizations and governmental bodies, had
expanded to include representation from Atlanta, Mount Pulaski, and
a member representing downtown Lincoln.
The primary work of the group had been to clarify what the unified
organization would look like, to define 'competency-based board' and
to define 'community.' Snyder said they defined 'community' as all
of Logan County. “There was a concern going in by some communities
going in, that this would be a Lincoln effort,” Snyder said. “We
defined as 'all of Logan County' the cities and villages, and also a
regional trade area folks that we do business with and others that
do business here, to have their needs and concerns addressed as we
move forward as an organization.”
The group also established the new “organizational model."
Snyder had provided the council with paper copies of a power point
presentation from the last meeting. He asked O’Donohue to discuss
the organizational model with the council. O’Donohue first directed
the group to slide 6 (see pdf, page 6) in the presentation.
From the outside, the new organization will appear to be a larger
more complex chamber of commerce. All six organizations will roll
together and operate under the chamber, using the chamber tax
identifications and employer identification numbers.
There will be a 7-member competency-based board of directors who
will be responsible for four councils. The councils will include the
"New Business Development Council," "Advocate, Promote Current
Business Council," "Tourism/Promote Hospitality Council," and
"Educate to Employ Council." There will be one chief executive
officer, who will answer directly to the board of directors.
O’Donohue said the current chamber board has voted to disband, so
the new board can move into its roll at the appropriate time.
The councils will look similar to the organizations that are rolling
into them, such as the Tourism/Promote Hospitality Council will do
much of the same work as the current tourism bureau and Main Street
O’Donohue pointed out the fourth council, Educate to Employ, saying
this was a new concept that would not reflect any past
organizations. He pointed out the goal of this council would be to
reach out to the 20 to 30-year-old population and entice them to
stay in the community. He mentioned that one step in this direction
has already begun with the Lincoln Land CEO project that is being
developed. The program for area high schools is expected to start in
O’Donohue quickly reviewed the information on slide 8 (see Pdf, page
8) that defines the role of the board of directors. He then moved on
to the qualifications of the board members.
The new board of directors will be selected based on specific
qualifications. The list of qualifications includes personal traits
such as willingness to commit, passion and purpose, impartiality,
self-awareness and ability to self-evaluate to name a few. There
will also be consideration given to the public perception of the
candidate; whether they are respected by their peers and seen as
In addition, board members will need to have skill-based
competencies. The list on slide eight indicates these could be
knowledge and experience in technology, government relations,
agriculture, the tourism/hospitality industry, and education to name
just a few.
The process for appointing a new board will be a complex procedure.
It begins with a nominating committee. They would identify at least
14 viable candidates.
The nominating committee, which is in place, consists of
three of the original UOC committee members, plus two other
persons. The members of the committee are David Lanterman, Eric
Graue, Tracy Welch, Todd Cyrulik and Bridget Schneider.
Once the candidates are identified, a vote will be taken. The
board of directors will be voted on by the people appointed by
the participating membership. O’Donohue explained how this would
Right now there are six entities including the county
and city that have the potential to participate in the UOC. Each of
these entities must vote on whether or not they want to be a part of
the UOC, and with that vote comes financial support.
On slide 13 of the pdf is a breakdown of each organization and the
monetary support that would be anticipated. Each organization will
have a specific number of votes that is calculated according to the
percentage of financial support they are contributing.
In the model provided, if all six groups participate, the chamber
group will have the largest number of votes with 21. They also
constitute the largest financial contribution with an estimated
$440,000 per year. Main Street Lincoln will have one vote, the
Development Partnership, and county, would each have two votes, the
city would get five, and the tourism bureau would have nine. There
would also be 12 votes not associated with financial support that
would be designated to other local municipalities not currently in
O’Donohue pointed out that these numbers were based on all six
organizations supporting the UOC. Any organization has the right to
opt out. In doing so, they would not be responsible for financial
contributions, and they would not be allowed to send a voting
representative to the table.
Another point O’Donohue stressed was that the voters would not be
influenced in their vote by the organization that chose them. Once
they are appointed as voters, they will vote their conscience on the
He explained saying, “For instance, if the city contributes, then we
get ‘x’ amount of votes, and the city decides who gets those votes.
It doesn’t necessarily mean it is any of us, but it could be. The
city basically decides who is going to represent those votes, but
those people vote however they want to vote. The city cannot say
‘this is who you are going to vote for,’ so the voting does become
As O’Donohue wrapped up his discussion he said all six entities need
to have made their decision to participate or not by August 1st in
order for the UOC to stay on track. The city will place their vote
next Monday night.
By way of discussion, Melody Anderson was the only one to pose a
question. She asked, “If one of the organizations you have on here
chose not to participate, how would that affect this.”
O’Donohue explained that if the city for example would decide not to
vote then their votes would be shifted to participating entities.
The final goal would be to maintain the ratio that 75 percent of the
votes come from the participating agencies and 25 percent will come
from the other municipalities in the county.
O’Donohue also told the group that voting against joining the UOC at
this time would not permanently exclude anyone. Any one of the
entities who might opt out at this time, can certainly return at a
later date and re-join the group. What they will lose by opting out
is representation in the selection of the UOC’s board of directors.
Other details that were mentioned are included in slide 9 of the pdf
and referred to as the “Rules of Engagement.” Board members once
elected will have term limits. Each member may serve two two-year
terms then they have to rotate off the board. The board members will
also be asked to commit to 100 percent attendance. O’Donohue noted
the provision that stated any board member missing three meetings in
a row will be automatically terminated from his/her position.