TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the IBM negotiations have been more transparent?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 10:30 a.m. CDT; updated 11:29 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The City Council unanimously agreed to approve a deal that would bring IBM to Columbia at a special meeting Monday night.

Residents and council members expressed dissatisfaction at the way negotiations with IBM were conducted, mainly with the secrecy surrounding the negotiations.

First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz expressed concern over a "culture of nondisclosure" and called the lack of transparency a little "disquieting."

Residents said the confidentiality of the negotiations made them question whether the agreement would really benefit the community. Attendees at the meeting expressed a desire to have more time for the public to debate IBM's coming to Columbia, something they said was lost due to the secrecy surrounding the negotiations with the company.

REDI President Mike Brooks argued that secrecy was essential in negotiating with IBM, as the company didn't want to alert competitors to its plan. The city also did not want to alert other cities vying for an IBM deal to the incentives it was offering the company.

Should REDI have disclosed more about the IBM negotiations earlier on in the process?

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Allan Sharrock May 25, 2010 | 4:19 p.m.

NO. If we would have disclosed the incentive packages then maybe another city would have increased their numbers. People will complain no matter what at least now there are some jobs coming here.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance May 25, 2010 | 11:45 p.m.

Yes, those who wish to use taxpayer money to give corporate welfare should expect the citizens to want more transparency. Ironic that people like Allan spew their libertarian philosophy when ordinary citizen ask for assistance, but have no problems when it is corporate America that gets the hand outs. That's hypocrisy.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 26, 2010 | 12:36 a.m.

Gee Tim, maybe you should go to the national Libertarian Party convention in St. Louis this weekend and see just how many you can find that support corporate welfare?

(Report Comment)
Ed Ricciotti May 26, 2010 | 1:33 p.m.

Yes, I think if taxpayer money is involved, the process by default she be transparent. I doubt you can make a national security argument to do otherwise. :)

John, have fun in St. Louis. :D

(Report Comment)

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