Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

What 70 New Jobs at Columbus McKinnon?

More "born again" jobs if could only find them.

May 27, 2014 Washington County Virginia: Another local company has failed to meet it's obligations to create 70 new jobs after getting a $563,000 corporate welfare package. The pork came from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the Governor's corporate pork fund, and County taxpayers.

Columbus McKinnon a maker of forklifts in Damascus sent General Manager Lance Lacombe before the Board of Supervisors. I already knew they wouldn't enforce the agreement and would give an extension, which they later did. Local government never enforces these agreements and this is a repeating pattern.

But what Mr. Lacombe said raises more troubling questions. To quote Bristol Herald Courier:

He said the company currently employs about 235 people - up from 174 at the time of the agreement. (2009) He acknowledged that the 70 jobs were not consistent each year, as the number of people employed by the company fluctuates to meet the demands of the market.

Yes 174 at the time of the agreement but at one time they had employed beyond the perhaps 235 now I was told a few years ago - that constitutes rehires not new jobs.

About 235 people? Doesn't he even know? In other words there's no evidence of 70 new jobs and he seems somewhat confused. I was told the company once employed about 300 people (a bunch of their employees were in my college class) so even if we got the 70 which he seems to admit is not the case, those are rehires at best. My attempts to verify these claims have come to nothing.

This kind of information is barred under the Virginia Freedom and Information Act and the deals were conducted under closed session with no records being kept.

I'll emphasize I believe Columbus McKinnon has done nothing improper - the problem is political corruption and the misuse and waste of our tax dollars. I challenge those involved to produce a list of those 70 jobs - or whatever.

History of Local Poverty

Ralph Stanley Museum.

"The most corrupt region is Southwest Virginia...more indictments for political and public office corruption have happened in this region than all other parts of the state combined." Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies.

"It's a little-known fact that roughly 20 percent of the children in Southwest Virginia live below the poverty line and go hungry every night." Kevin Crutchfield, President Alpha Natural Resources, January 15, 2009

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