Economic development chief describes ‘conflict’ with Larson

(In response to last week’s article, “EDC investigated after city employee alleges bullying by executives”)

Dan Larson’s three-year term expired this year. In recent years, there have been instances that give the appearance of a conflict of interest between Dan serving on the TAEDC (Tioga Area Economic Development Corporation) and a city job.

Some examples of such cases being that Dan is aware of and has been involved for 2 years in planning/discussing the expansion of the community center, which will be the largest expense Tioga will ever incur if it is built. It would be fair to assume that such information would be of interest to a company dedicated to the success and economic development of the town of Tioga. It is disappointing that Dan chose not to share this information at any time with the TAEDC Board of Directors or its general members.

On January 6, Dan also shared a copy of the TAEDC bylaws with the city attorney without discussing it with the TAEDC board prior to the conversation. The TAEDC Board of Directors does not believe that the taxpayers of the City of Tioga should pay for legal advice regarding the TAEDC, nor should the City of Tioga be made aware of our bylaws without Board discussion. Dan has been involved in numerous discussions with municipal officials and municipal counsel regarding the TAEDC without consulting the TAEDC Board of Directors.

It is imperative that all members of the TAEDC Board of Directors work together to create opportunities for economic growth not only among themselves, but also with the city and surrounding communities. Unfortunately, it appeared that Dan did not share this vision and instead created more division between city officials, the community and the TAEDC. For these and other instances, Dan has not been nominated for another term on the TAEDC Board of Directors. We thank Dan for the time he served.

To be transparent, there was a confrontation between Dan Larson and Dennis Lindahl. There was no physical contact or intimidation. I ended the discussion in a professional manner.

In the future, if a grievance were to be submitted to the Tioga Town Commission, it would be appreciated and welcome for the Commission to contact TAEDC for clarification and discussion. By doing so, we can avoid emergency executive sessions that ultimately result in additional legal costs for taxpayers, and unnecessary, one-sided articles in our local newspaper that result in negative publicity and division. We all need to work together towards the same goal – a thriving and prosperous community and TAEDC intends to do just that. We have considered this matter closed and are concentrating our efforts on the further economic development of Tioga.