Aug 15, 2011

Trinkets not 'Made in Missouri' create a sticky situation

From STL JobWatch - By Steve Giegerich - The shipment arrived at the offices of the state Department of Economic Development within days of the governor launching a "bipartisan Made in Missouri Jobs" initiative. Inside were 6,000 carabiners — a trinket combining a key chain, flashlight and pen. The agency plans to give the items away at the Missouri State Fair next week. One side of the carabiner bore the insignia "" On the opposite side was a sticker noting the country that produced the gadget: China. Meetings were called. Department officials conferred. Finally, an email memo went out inviting "volunteers" to "assist with removing stickers from State Fair promo item." On the morning of Aug. 1, the senior staff gathered as requested in the conference room of the agency director. There, over doughnuts, a cadre of state officials proceeded to methodically erase all traces of China from 6,000 carabiners. Operation label lift occurred as Gov. Jay Nixon has been criss-crossing the state promoting the "Made in Missouri" jobs campaign and the Legislature is preparing for a special session over whether state tax credits should be used to lure a Chinese air freight hub here. In a statement issued by the agency late Thursday afternoon, the economic development department defended its actions: "The Division of Workforce Development went through the state procurement process to purchase these items from a Missouri-based business. Clearly, the division's preference would have been for the Missouri-based retailer to have purchased their supplies from a domestic supplier." Which raises a question: If the agency followed Missouri guidelines, why were state employees asked to hide the origin of the trinkets? "The division prepared the items for the State Fair, which included removing plastic baggies and any stickers from the items," the agency said. Reached late Thursday, Nixon spokesman Scott Holste declined to comment. Read more:

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