Economic Development, but for Whom?

One of the myriad “economic development” agencies dotting the state and area is the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance (NELEA), headed by Tana Trichel. What drew our attention to this particular agency at this particular time was the email she dispatched last Friday, the day before a primary election.

Dear Friends of Economic Development

Our vote is a precious demonstration of our wishes for all that happens in our nation. Please exercise this privilege this Saturday in the Republican Primary.

We have been privileged to have Congressman Rodney Alexander give us direct assistance in our Marketing and Recruiting, many regional initiatives and in our Economic Development endeavors. His assistance has led to many opportunities in our Region.

But the right to vote is within the individual. Vote your political conscience on Saturday, August 28, 2010.

Tana Trichel

Tana Trichel President/CEO Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance

Here’s what is listed on the organization’s tax return as their mission:

To provide economic development, industrial recruitment and readiness, and job creation for the Northeast Louisiana area.

We’re not sure what emailing everyone and boosting Rodney Alexander has to do with economic development, other than an exercise in apple-polishing to make sure the federal dollars keep flowing in.

The organization’s income for the year 2008 consisted exclusively of government grants (translation – taxpayer money) of just over $1 million.

Now let’s look at where the money went.

Trichel’s 2008 salary was $85.5 thousand.
The VP’s salary was $49 thousand.
The 2008 travel budget was $105 thousand.
Other salaries for 2008 was over $235 thousand.
Benefits for 2008 was $75 thousand.

In other words, the total for salaries, benefits and travel eats up over half the revenues of the organization for the 2008 tax year.

Now explain to us again why it’s a good thing to tax the citizenry, keep most of the money for overhead and administration, and then claim that is the way to boost the economy?

5 Responses to “Economic Development, but for Whom?”

  1. US Folks Says:

    Well said and thank you Mr. Abbott!! I approached Ms. Trichel a few years ago about getting help to start up a small business but never even got a response to my query or phone messages. I thought it was pretty snooty at the time and now I know it wasn’t just me. Thanks again for everything you do to help make government ‘transparent’!

    US Folks

  2. Anonymous Says:

    According to, Tana Trichel from Monroe donated $300 to Rodney Alexander in 2008 and $250 to Alexander in 2010.

    Also, a Paul Trichel from West Monroe (D&J Construction, Director of the Greater Ouachita Port) also donated $500 to Alexander in 2010 the same day as Tana donated her money. I’m not sure if the two are related or not.

  3. mysterious Says:

    If you ever just sat down and looked at all the money that flows down from Washington and what path it takes and how many side roads it takes until a portion arrives at it’s intended destination, you would probably toss your cookies. However, some people have the tendency to be political parasites as well as social peacocks, so it usually fits in well with their goal in life.
    I just got back from D.C. and have a fresh vision of just how it goes,but again, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AB, you do US JUSTICE, since no else out there seems to be the least bit concerned~!

  4. procommunity Says:

    The letter appearing to support a particular candidate is sickening. Didn’t the appropriateness alarm go up before she sent this? Apparently not.

    On the other hand, it’s important for economic development agencies to be staffed fairly well, as economic development can be all about relationship building. It’s about high-quality thinking, as well, though, and this particular director certainly didn’t exhibit that characteristic. Maybe a little less salary, a little less travel now that there’s such a thing as videoconferencing, and a little more time spent teasing out and then pondering the particular strengths of the community would be in order.

  5. Karen Says:

    Sadly, too often people are concerned about their own economic development and that of their buddies and are less interested in doing what they should be doing. I see a lot of people in these groups and on committees who only do it for their own personal “fame”. Until we have people who are truly concerned with the betterment of the towns in this “alliance” we aren’t going to see much of anything other than high salaries and grandstanding. There are too many egos and ass kissers involved for it to be beneficial to any of us little people.

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