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Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council President Paul Brown Is The Only Representative Of Organized Labor On The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announced Today By Governor Andrew Cuomo

Advocates Want Greater Diversity On Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils/Newly-Named Members of WNY Regional Council Has Two Community Organizations And Just One Labor Organization Represented In Its Local Membership

Published Tuesday, July 26, 2011 5:00 pm
by Tom Campbell/Editor-Publisher & News Releases

(BUFFALO) – Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council President Paul Brown was the only area representative of Organized Labor named to the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council by Governor Andrew Cuomo today (July 26th).

Cuomo announced the membership of the new Western New York Regional Economic Development Council during a stop in Buffalo.  The newly-created 10 Regional Councils across the State will serve as New York’s flagship Job Creation Program.  The governor was expected to announce appointments to the Finger Lakes Regional Council when he stops in Rochester and the Central New York Regional Council when he stops in Syracuse later today.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity and it’s a great honor for the Buffalo Building Trades to be chosen to participate in the Council,” Brown told WNYLaborToday.com late today. 

Brown - who also serves as president of the Plasterers Local 9 in North Tonawanda, heads the Buffalo Building Trades Council, whose 18-Member Trades Unions combine to represent 10,000 Unionized Construction Workers across Western New York - added that for too long “Organized Labor has taken a back seat to too many ‘know it alls.’”

“I plan on being aggressive at the table.  I won’t be making long-winded speeches because my Local is allowing me to be there, so I won’t be drinking coffee and sitting around.  I will make this worthwhile (for Labor),” Brown told Your Regional, On-Line Labor Newspaper.

Cuomo’s announcement comes several days after the release of a 52-page plan for the Regional Councils, which laid out more detail about their operation and how membership on the Councils was to be structured.  Each Council, which has 20 members, will be chaired by Lt. Governor Robert Duffy and have two Vice-Chairs: a representative from the business community and a representative from an academic institution.  In addition to the members of the Council, expanded workgroups will be created as part of a strategic planning process that will end on November 14th.

However, advocates from the Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition point out the Western New York Regional Council has only two community organizations and only one labor organization represented in its membership.  The Statewide Coalition is a broad group of Public Policy Experts, Government Watchdogs, Labor Unions, Community and Religious Organizations, and concerned Small Business Owners, Workers and Taxpayers, and is anchored by ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York and the Buffalo-based Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ).

“The Council could have been much more diverse and inclusive of the Community, Labor, Environmental and Small Business stakeholders that are directly impacted by economic development decisions,” said Nathalie Alegre, an organizer with ALIGN. “We’re pleased to see some reform-minded individuals among the appointments made today and strongly advocate for more diverse voices to be included in working groups for each region.”

A statewide Chairman’s Committee will also be created as part of the Regional Council structure, although the membership of this committee was not announced today.  The Chairman’s Committee is charged with facilitating inter-regional cooperation and will meet at least quarterly.  This Committee will also have a role in identifying and eliminating barriers to economic growth common across regions.

“Greater coordination and consolidation are needed because to-date, regional competition and the sprawling network of different entities tasked with job creation have mostly benefited developers and big business looking to shift jobs within the state,” CEJ Director Allison Duwe said. “We recommend that Regional Councils take a hard look at the big picture - the eight-point-two-billion dollars a year spent in the name of economic development - when making their recommendations.” 

 

WNYLaborToday.com Editor’s Note: The following press release appeared on Governor Cuomo’s website (http://www.governor.ny.gov):

Governor Cuomo Launches Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, Which Will Drive Local Economic Development and Improve Business Climate Statewide

(ALBANY) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched his Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, which will redesign the relationship between the state government and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide.  The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, local officials, business leaders, and community members to launch the Regional Council at the Convention Center at OnCenter in Syracuse.

The Central New York Regional Council will be led by Nancy Cantor, the Chancellor of Syracuse University, and Rob M. Simpson, President of CenterState CEO, who will both serve as Regional Co-Chairs.  The Regional Council will coordinate the economic development of Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego counties.  A complete list of members of the Central New York Regional Council is included below.

"For too long, Albany has imposed one-size-fits-all economic development plans across the state, ignoring the unique assets and challenges of each region," Governor Cuomo said. "Today, we are taking a new approach. With the Regional Councils, we will empower individual areas like Central New York to chart their own course for job creation and growth and we will send a clear message that New York is open for business."

The Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development, from a top-down development model to a community-based approach that emphasizes regions' unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities.

Currently, New York State's economic development efforts are managed through dozens of separate state and local agencies. The Regional Councils will now bring together stakeholders in every region of the state to serve as a coordinated point of contact for economic development. Each Regional Council will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and will be led by two Regional Co-Chairs from the business and academic community. Additional membership is comprised of local leaders from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits, and community-based organizations.

Each Regional Council will develop a plan for the development of their region.  The state will work with the Regional Councils to align state resources and policies, eliminate unnecessary barriers to growth and prosperity, and streamline the delivery of government services and programs to help the Regional Councils carry out their plans for development.

Governor Cuomo has already made historic changes to the state's economic development grant application process to support the Regional Councils.  Through a new Consolidated Funding Application that combines resources from dozens of existing programs, the Regional Councils can now apply for $1 billion in state funding for projects they determine to be part of their regional strategy.

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, "Governor Cuomo's groundbreaking economic development strategy will put our state back on the right path. Only by focusing on what our regions actually need can we take full advantage of our resources and keep businesses and jobs here in New York. The Regional Councils will enable every section of the state to prepare individualized economic plans and will make the regions the drivers of their own success."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "New York can no longer afford to have the worst business climate in the nation. The economic development strategies of Albany's past have failed to solve the challenges we face today. Governor Cuomo's Regional Councils create a more efficient business model that empowers individual regions to determine what is best for their own communities and incentivizes thoughtful economic policies through competition. I am excited to work with every region to maximize their potential and bring investment and jobs to New York State."

Governor Cuomo created the Regional Councils through Executive Order.  The 10 Regional Councils cover the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York.

To learn more about the Regional Councils, visit www.nyopenforbusiness.com.

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