A year ago, Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong and WFIU Assistant News Director Daniel Robison spoke about the federal stimulus package. Back then, the mayor, with his department heads, were filling out scores of applications to try to secure funding for shovel-ready projects. While Mayor Armstrong admits the city was fortunate to receive money for a handful of these submissions, he says in WFIU’s latest Ask the Mayor that the process was too long, complicated and verging on not-worth-it status. In fact, he rates the whole rigmarole a “C,” which isn’t a compliment given the grade inflation purported in today’s schools.
The discussion also covered recent layoffs announced by Cummins, who will furlough close to 200 at their Midrange plant in Walesboro at the end of the week. Armstrong speaks about how this trend could be the “new norm” given the prolonged sluggishness of the economy. And Cummins, coming off their most profitable quarter in company history, says the layoffs will continue because orders continue to be sporadic and intermittent.
Also, in vintage Armstrong form, the mayor rails against his naysayers — even sarcastically accepting blame for the global economic downturn. We spoke about his efforts to land foreign companies, highlighted in overseas trips last year, have yet to pay off. But, the mayor says, he’s trying to be optimistic through the rain.
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