FLORENCE — The Shoals Economic Development Authority Board is considering making changes to its Executive Committee.

Currently, the committee consists of five of the board's 24 members, SEDA Vice President Kevin Jackson said.

The proposal is to enlarge the panel to eight members with four members each from Colbert and Lauderdale counties, Jackson said. Those are the two counties covered by SEDA.

Those eight members would include at least one board member from each of the four largest cities — Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia, he said.

"It if doesn't work, we can always go back to the old way," Jackson said.

SEDA Board Chairman Ron Kirkland said the Executive Committee approved recommending the change by a 3-2 vote.

The board discussed the proposal during last week's meeting. Members agreed to vote on it at next month's meeting.

The proposal produced discussion about the committee's purpose and authority.

Jackson said the committee has no authority over the full board, but makes recommendations. He said even if the committee does not recommend something, the matter is brought before the full board.

Board member Macke Maudlin suggested compiling the proposal in legal format to make sure it would comply with SEDA's bylaws. Kirkland responded they will do that.

The SEDA Board makes recommendations to the Shoals Industrial Development Committee, which is made up of local elected leaders in charge of distributing funds from the Shoals Economic Development Fund.

The proposal comes during a transitional time for SEDA. On Tuesday, SEDA President Forrest Wright announced he would step down from that position May 31 after 28 years of leading the agency. He will remain on staff as manager of properties until March.

The board approved Wright's retirement during last week's meeting and selected Jackson to become the new president.

This also comes at a time when Colbert and Lauderdale commissioners are discussing the possibility of creating their own economic development agencies.

In addition, one of the Greater Shoals committees is a working group called "Broadening the Definition of Economic Development." It is among six committees that will make recommendations June 18.

The committees emerged after a Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) study earlier this year recommended looking at broadening the definition of economic development, including possibly expanding potential uses for the Shoals Economic Development Fund.

The study added that the fund is a positive for the Shoals. PARCA recommended preserving a single economic development authority for all of the Shoals rather than splitting up the agency.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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