The Brunswick Development Corporation deserves praise for its responsiveness to the public outcry over the appearance — if not the reality — of favoritism in its lending.

In unanimously aproving a slate of reforms to its bylaws, the BDC is now moderat e ly more transparent to the average Brunswick citizen, will be directed by people at greater distance from public officials, and can now direct its full energy doing what it does best: assessing creative ways to finance projects that put people to work and grow Brunswick’s economy.

Is it perfect?


If it were really concerned about the appearance of a revolving door of officials coming to it like a personal teller window soon after their official duties ended, the BDC would have strengthened the conflict of-interest clause even more by making the one-year cooling-off period much longer.

And it could have widened the circle of applicants who should not be allowed to approach the quasi-municipal board asking for money, to include family members and business associates of currently serving town officials or BDC board members, as well as those in the one-year cooling-off period.

We applaud the board for dropping a proposed change governing executive sessions. Directors will now be required to sit in on those sessions in person — not by teleconference — as we suggested in this space on Nov 22.

That they did not go farther isn’t all that surprising; the agency continues to fancy itself a private bank whose duty is less about public transparency and inclusion and more about the inherently secret process of financing projects that carry risk most commercial banks might avoid.

After the vote to adopt the bylaw changes, Town Councilor John Richardson, who helped craft the changes along with fellow board member William Morrell, delivered a fullthroated defense of the BDC — even the Brunswick Taxi deal — saying there’s been no unethical behavior.

“All those things that we have done, including the loan to Brunswick Taxi, have allowed this town to move forward … despite the business interruption caused by the (Brunswick Naval Air Station) closure.”

We agree that the Brunswick Taxi loan was not unethical, that the Brunswick Development Corporation has created opportunities for our area, and that it has acted accountably in the face of legitimate scrutiny of its activities.

The BDC is a net positive for Brunswick, and it will be run with greater accountability thanks to the work of Morrell, Richardson and a board of very smart people with Brunswick’s best interests at heart.