Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson and the leader of the local economic development corporation say their relationship is in good standing after a controversy regarding the mayor’s State of the City address at the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Rooster Booster Breakfast on Jan. 9 at the Owensboro Convention Center.
Watson publicly apologized during a city commission meeting Tuesday for a portion of his State of the City address that he said upset members of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation.
Brittaney Johnson, president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, declined to say what specifically upset her organization’s members.
“I’m not going to comment on it,” she said, adding that the corporation appreciates its partnership with the city.
In a Wednesday interview, Watson said GOECD officials didn’t explicitly say what made them upset.
However, toward the end of his address, Watson read numerous “food for thought” questions for the audience. One of the questions was “Is the organization that leads our economic development program properly structured, staffed and focused?”
“I didn’t attempt to upset anybody. It was just an opportunity for us all to think,” Watson said as part of his apology Tuesday.
Watson elaborated more on the purpose of his State of the City address on Wednesday.
“I’m just trying to engage the community,” he said. “Because I’m convinced, you never stay the same. You either get better or you get worse. So there’s no problem or anything.”
Watson agreed with Johnson about the positive relationship existing between the city and GOECD.
“There’s no ill will here,” he said.