Mayor Damon Welch should step back from JC-INVEST, his economic development initiative, until an interlocal agreement is signed by the city, county and town of Hanover.

It is clear to everyone - except Welch - that success will not be achieved until there is a signed document where the city, county and Hanover are all vested in developing the plan.

Both the county council and the town of Hanover have declined the invitation to serve on JC-INVEST.

On Monday, Welch lost a supporter when Dick McCracken, an architect of Welch's original Blue Ribbon Panel's report on economic development and an advisor to JV-INVEST, said that he can no longer support the JC-INVEST concept.

There needs to be an independent committee - not the JC-INVEST board - assigned to draw up an interlocal agreement. That committee should include the attorneys for the city, county and Hanover and a representative from each governmental body selected by those bodies.

Once that foundation is in place, the city, county and Hanover can proceed to build a strong framework for economic growth in Jefferson County.