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Wilson, Brockman named to PEDC board

eParisExtra logoThe Paris Economic Development Corp. now has a full board of directors.

A split City Council placed Don Wilson and John Brockman in the available seats Monday, completing a process that started June 23 when council members deadlocked on every nomination for PEDC while filling vacancies on 11 city commissions.

They will be sworn in when the PEDC board meets at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the community room at the Depot, followed by an election of officers for 2014-2015.

Councilman Edwin Pickle jumped out quickly in nominating Wilson, seconded by Councilman Benny Plata. Council members A.J. Hashmi, Sue Lancaster and Aaron Jenkins opposed the nomination, while Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Grossnickle and Mayor Matt Frierson voted in favor.

Pickle also nominated Brockman. Grossnickle seconded, and the nomination passed 5-0, with Jenkins and Lancaster abstaining. Both said at the June 23 meeting they would like to see a minority on the board. Jenkins nominated James Price at that meeting, which also resulted in a stalemate.

Brockman is an executive vice president and chief lending officer at First Federal Community Bank. A 40-year veteran of the banking industry, Brockman said in his application to the city that his work has incorporated commercial and industrial developments, real estate, oil and gas, and agriculture. He has also served on various economic development boards, including the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation, Seminole Industrial Development Foundation, Seminole Chamber of Commerce, Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Duncan Telecommunications Commission.

Wilson started his career working in management for a manufacturing company. His application says he has owned and managed four manufacturing firms himself, both as established businesses and startups. He has also helped companies locate plants. A former City Council member, Wilson has also served on a bank board for many years.

One seat on the PEDC board is being vacated by Vicki Ballard, and has been empty since Bruce Carr stepped down in January.

Monday’s nominations went more smoothly, but that’s not to say the issue was completely controversy free.

“I think there’s a conflict of interest because he has been mentioned in the investigation with Defenbaugh,” Louise Mosely said during the citizen’s forum. “I think anyone that involved should not be on the board.

Dr. Robert Mosely said in addition to the investigation, the $5 million deal with Rodgers-Wade made him ineligible due to a conflict of interest where decisions voted on by the board might benefit him personally.

The loan in question, which appears to have sparked the investigation being conducted by Defenbaugh & Associates, was actually a bank loan to Harrison Walker & Harper secured by Rodgers-Wade property. Wilson has not owned or been involved with the company since the late 1990s.

Grossnickle was absent from the June 23 meeting, resulting in a series of 3-3 votes. Hashmi said the appointments are supposed to be made by the end of June, and asked why the matter was not put on a June 30 special session where everyone was present.

“I don’t have a good reason for that. Honestly, I didn’t think of putting it on that meeting,” City Manager John Godwin said. “And no one requested it.”

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