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New Members of Western NY Regional Council Named

New York and Buffalo, NY—Governor Cuomo announced the membership of the new Western New York Regional Economic Development Council today. Regional Councils are the state’s flagship job creation program, and it’s expected that the Governor will 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.

The announcement comes several days after the release of a fifty-two-page plan for Regional Councils, which laid out more detail about their operation and how membership on the Councils will be structured.

Each Council will have twenty members, be chaired by Lt. Governor 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 14.

The Western New York Regional Council has two community organizations and one labor organization represented in its membership.

“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: The Alliance for a Greater New York. “We are 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,” said Allison Duwe, Executive Director of the Buffalo-based Coalition for Economic Justice. “We recommend that Regional Councils take a hard look at the big picture—the $8.2 billion dollars a year spent in the name of economic development—when making their recommendations.”

The Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition is a broad coalition of public policy experts, government watchdogs, labor unions, community and religious organizations, and concerned small business owners, workers and taxpayers. The statewide coalition is anchored by ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York and the Buffalo-based Coalition for Economic Justice