I read with mixed emotions the report of Mark Lee's status as a finalist for the Northern State University presidency. Whether you like the new University Center in Sioux Falls or not, Lee has done a bang-up job as its executive dean. Stepping up to be a full-bird university president would be a great feather in Lee's career cap.
However, Lee has also been a good Lake Herman neighbor. He's served as treasurer for the Karl E. Mundt Foundation. He's lectured at the Chamber's Leadership Madison program. He helped raise funds for the Madison Community Center. His wife Lesa has been a good kindergarten teacher here. (His kids also were great Madison HS thespians!)
I know Mark and Lesa are just two people, but maybe we should try to keep them the way we try to keep businesses in Lake County. Maybe the LAIC should offer the Lees a little inducement to stick around Madison and continue contributing to our economy. Maybe some Chamber Bucks? Maybe work out a deal with the county commission to lower their property tax?
But suppose Mark does get the NSU job. I can't imagine anyone giving up Lake Herman to live in Aberdeen, but stranger things have happened. Maybe the LAIC could offer some homebuyer's incentives to make sure the Lees' house by the golf course doesn't sit vacant too long. When we lost Rosco, May and Scofield, and Arctic Cat, the LAIC stepped right up to hand hiring incentives (a.k.a., cash) to employers who hired the laid-off workers. Surely losing good community members warrants some similar action.
I'd like to keep the Lees in our community, but I wish Mark nothing but the best in his candidacy. If he wins the job, I'll be getting on the horn to my friends abroad to let them know there's some nice property on Lake Herman available.
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