Growth groups focus on future

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ Staff Writer

An infant organization formed to ease the transition to a new mission at Cannon Air Force Base met for the first time Thursday.

The Local Growth Management Organization — consisting of hand-picked community members — discussed the road ahead with their governing body, the Local Growth Management Committee.

“We’ve laid the foundation for a fruitful process,” said Clovis Mayor David Lansford, founder of the committee.

“Hopefully, it will serve us well,” he said.

The organization will make recommendations to the committee regarding projects or studies that may need to be completed to handle changes with the new mission at Cannon.

The group will also serve as a liaison between the committee, the Air Force and the Office of Economic Adjustment, a federal agency that helps communities impacted by military decisions.

The Air Force 16th Special Operations Wing assumes ownership of Cannon in October.

Nine organization members were appointed Jan. 12 by the committee, which consists of elected representatives from Portales, Clovis, and Curry and Roosevelt counties.

Exactly how the 16th SOW will affect eastern New Mexico is uncertain, and will be until March when an environmental assessment of the mission is complete, according to Air Force officials.

“Some of (that) information we are going to have dig out — it’s not just going to come to us,” Lansford told organization members.

He said it would be their duty to find that information, and their success combined with government entities’ could define the scope and size of the new mission.
Pat Burns, an organization member from Cannon, said, “It’s a unique opportunity to have input in this process. “

Because the organization is an advisory body, it can meet without notifying the public. The committee is subject to open meeting laws.

—What: Meeting of the Local Growth Management Committee and Local Growth Management Organization
—When: 1:30 p.m., Feb. 7
—Where: Portales Municipal Schools administration building, 501 S. Abilene St.
—Who: Committee and organization members plan to invite Office of Economic Adjustment officials and Air Force Special Operations integration branch chief Lt. Col. Toby Corey to the meeting. Because it is a joint meeting, it will be open to the public.

Make-up of Local Growth Management Organization
Skill set positions:
—Education: Randy Fowler, Portales Schools superintendent
—Healthcare: Hoyt Skabelund, administrator, Plains Regional Medical Center
—Military leadership: Retired Air Force Col. Dale Hensley
—Infrastructure development: Pat Burns, Cannon Air Force Base
—Finance/accounting/legal: Kent Carruthers, Citizens Bank of Clovis
—Community services/family support: Raymond Mondragon, ENMR-Plateau
General members:
—Everett Frost, former president of Eastern New Mexico University
—Lonnie Leslie, retired Clovis Schools administrator
—James Floyd, retired Air Force chief master sergeant
Gov. Bill Richardson appointees:
—Gayla Brumfield, Clovis Realtor
—Second member not yet