Those keychain-flashlight knickknacks to promote Missouri's new "Made in Missouri" jobs package? They were made in China. But officials are hoping state fair-goers won't know that when they're handed out next week.
According to St. Louis Today, officials in the state's economic development department noticed the 6,000 "carabiners" -- keychain-flashlight-pen trinkets -- all bore the "jobs.mo.gov" insignia on one side, but also featured a "Made in China" sticker on the reverse. After much conferring around the department, an email finally went out: "Volunteers" were invited to "assist with removing stickers from the State Fair promo item."
St. Louis Today reported:
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.
The agency issued a statement defending both the carabiners and the decision to take off the stickers:
"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....The division prepared the items for the State Fair, which included removing plastic baggies and any stickers from the items."
A spokesman for the governor declined to comment to the newspaper.