Mayoral Candidate McFall Addresses Market House

Ownership, Governance, and Operations Are Key

Trudy McFall, Democratic Candidate For Mayor

Trudy McFall, Democratic Candidate For Mayor

“I rejoice at seeing the Market House beginning to come back to life and serve, as it should, as the heart of our historic downtown community.  As I have talked to voters all over the City, the Market House has been the issue of greatest concern to them. The $4 million of taxpayer money that the City has spent to regain control of and remodel the Market House is a source of great concern and anger.  Nothing is more important for the next Mayor than to ensure that the Market House is up and running—and managed effectively for long term success.  I have found among residents a strongly shared view of what they want the Market House to be – a place where local businesses provide local products and foods, as well as a fun place to enjoy related events and activities.

The real question is how to manage for long term success, and this involves three things: ownership, governance, and operations.

Ownership

The City should continue to own the Market House and it should own it to accomplish what the private sector acting alone cannot.  The City, in consultation with the governing Board described below, should set the overall budget for the Market House, which should include costs for maintenance, operations and replacement reserves. The City may establish broad policies and priorities, such as policies that will promote small, local businesses who are able to deliver the goods and services that people want, but cannot now get downtown.  The Market House should add products and services that complement existing offerings from downtown businesses.

Governance

The Market House should be governed by a Board appointed by the Mayor and City Council that will include citizens with practical expertise in related business operations, as well as persons appointed by downtown businesses and neighborhood organizations.  I support the recent efforts of citizens who have recently come together to make recommendations on a Board structure – the Market House governing structure needs to be based on such citizen and business input.  The Board should set the operating policy for the Market House, approve product and vendor selection, set rents and oversee operations consistent with the City’s overall Market House budget, and select the personnel to directly operate the building.  The City should participate closely with the Board, and the Mayor or his/her designee should serve as an Ex Officio member of the Board.

Operations

Photo: Maggie (c) 2009

Photo: Maggie (c) 2009

The Board should select an individual or firm that is responsible for the daily operation of the Market House and for making recommendations to the Board. This individual or firm should be thoroughly vetted with a proven track record of successful market operations. Furthermore, the person or firm selected should work under a one-year, provisional contract, which could be extended for 5 years, and should include a termination provision without compensation.

The next Mayor and City Council should have the full responsibility for establishing the Board, including setting the policies.  The Market House could stay open and operate with temporary vendors pending rehabilitation of the building this winter.  That is appropriate.  However, the current Mayor and Council should not make the same mistake as was made four years ago when the faulty lease for Site Reality was hastily and inappropriately approved by an outgoing Council.  The new Mayor and Council should, therefore, be the ones held accountable for the future of the Market House and they should have full responsibility for determining that future.”

Trudy McFall is a Democratic candidate for Mayor of Annapolis. Trudy has over 35 years of executive management experience, is founder and Chairman of an Annapolis-based business, Homes for America, and is a long-time civic activist. To learn more about Trudy’s background and position on issues, as well as to contribute to her campaign, please visit www.trudymcfall.com (By Authority, Friends of Trudy McFall, Miranda Darden, Treasurer).

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