Legislators moving ahead with economic development director position

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Creation of an economic development director position for Oneida County is moving ahead.

The Board of Legislators has been requested to authorize the position and set a salary of $84,264. County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. urged the establishment of the post in his State of the County address March 2.

“The bottom line is I do not believe we are currently doing enough,” he said in his speech six months ago. “As nano became closer to a reality, it became clear to me that economic development became too singular in focus. That left too many other opportunities on the table.”

The county contracts with Mohawk Valley EDGE to be its lead economic development agency. It was established nearly 25 years ago as a one-stop shop for economic development needs and business assistance in Oneida and Herkimer counties.

Picente also said, “This position will be the lead on all things economic development for the County of Oneida. The director will work with all of our partners in government and the community to implement a universal approach.”

Picente said Tuesday he does not believe the position will be a duplication of what already exists. He said the focus will be on economic development as a county, whether it is Griffiss International Airport, the Oneida County Public Market or the fledgling Utica entertainment district that is anchored by the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

“I don’t see conflict anywhere,” he said, adding that the new director’s work will be “complementary” to what’s being done now.

The director would be appointed by the county executive.

Legislators will start their formal review of the request at the Sept. 6 meeting of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. If the matter is not held up by the committee, it could be considered by the full legislature at its Sept. 13 meeting.

“The work involves the development of both future and current plans for Oneida County’s growth, as well as the development of programs and policies with regional agencies, developers and builders to review feasibility of proposed projects working towards business retention and county growth,” states the job description. “The work involves coordinating planning activities with the activities of the federal and state governments, towns, cities villages and regional agencies.”

It also says, “The incumbent acts as the representative of the county executive in contacts with other public bodies, private interests and civic groups with respect to the best economic development of the county.”

Minimum qualifications for the post include:

• Graduation from a regionally accredited New York state registered college or university with a bachelor’s degree; and

• Four years of full-time administrative or managerial experience in economic or community development, business development, or commercial development; two years of which must have been in a supervisory or administrative capacity.

Personnel Commissioner John P. Talerico said the salary amount was based on a review of what other governments pay for similar positions and discussions with the county executive.

At least seven directors of county departments or offices earn more than the proposed $84,264, according to a review of the 2017 budget. Several of them have had lengthy tenures with the county. Four directors are paid below what’s proposed for the economic development director.​

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