Elected leaders and economic development officials are voicing their support for the Lockheed Martin facility in suburban Syracuse and seeking answers in response to reports the site was almost shut down.
News emerged Thursday morning that the defense contractor was within a few weeks of finalizing a plan to close its radar and sensor facility in Salina, N.Y. and relocate the roughly 1,600 jobs there. The plan was put on hold, at least for a year, after Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., talked with Lockheed Martin's CEO.
Lockheed Martin spokesman Keith Little told The Innovation Trail that since the sequester went into affect, the company is re-evaluating its business strategy, but the plant will stay open for at least another year.
Since the news broke, several politicians have reached out to the company. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) issued this statement this afternoon:
Lockheed Martin’s Salina facility is an important economic partner in Central New York. I spoke today with leaders at Lockheed Martin’s Salina plant and will continue to work with local, state, and federal partners, including my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee, to ensure the company stays competitive and maintains a significant presence in our community. I also sent a letter with local partners to Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson requesting a meeting to discuss ways we can help support Lockheed Martin’s Salina facility. I am committed to strengthening the middle class and creating jobs in our region, and I will continue to be an advocate for Lockheed Martin and other companies that employ Central New Yorkers and play a critical role in our national defense.
Several other elected officials and executives from CenterState CEO and Empire State Development signed on to the letter Maffei refers to.
"Combined with the efforts of our federal elected officials who have diligently fought for new funding to support Lockheed Martin and its Electronics Park operation and the 1,700 central New York residents who work there, the relationship that we have forged with Lockheed Martin has been a model of cooperation, trust and effectiveness," they write.
The letter notes that Lockheed Martin was given an incentive package when it opened the facility in 1996. Electronics Park in Salina, once the site of General Electric, is owned by the state and Lockheed Martin pays a nominal lease.
The letter requests a meeting with Lockheed Martin executives to understand the issues facing the site and offer assistance in keeping it open.