Some members of the Orange City Council spoke enthusiastically about GMJ & Associates consulting firm from Jefferson County and indicated they would like to hire the company to help with economic development.
The company gave a presentation Monday morning to City Council and the city’s Economic Development Corporation board of directors. The city has been looking at different ways to help attract new industries and commercial businesses since deciding to stop paying $25,000 to the Orange County Economic Development Corporation. Since Orange voted to stop payments to the county group, Orange County, the Port of Orange and Pinehurst have also voted to stop their contributions. Without the financial support, the county economic development corporation will end in October.
Former Jefferson County Judge Carl Griffith is the president and CEO of the company, which is short for Griffith, Moseley and Johnson. Jeff Moseley is a former Denton County judge and served as head of Texas Economic Development under governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry. John Johnson is an attorney with 25 years of government including law enforcement and public administration, according to the company’s website. All three partners were at the meeting with Johnson and Griffith speaking.
Mayor Jimmy Sims commented that Griffith even assisted the city with the expansion of a local industrial plant.
Jay Trahan is the fulltime City of Orange economic development director but council members have indicated they would like a different option than the countywide corporation. Trahan also serves as assistant city manager and oversees the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
After the end of the meeting, council members Patrick Pullen and Essie Bellfield said they were glad to have Griffith. No vote was taken on hiring the consultation firm. Trahan said he will work with GMJ on a proposal to give the council and EDC board.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-