regional councils

1:42pm

Wed September 14, 2011
Who's who

Western New York economic council: Who's in charge

Members of the western New York regional council, with Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy at podium.
Daniel Robison WNED

The Innovation Trail is taking a look at the members of the governor's regional economic development councils.  Here's what we found.

Methodology

Our reporters brought back short biographies of the folks behind the councils, including campaign contributions in the 2010 gubernatorial election (courtesy of public filings at the State Board of Elections).

The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), at our request, retrieved data about the state lobbying expenditures of council members' employers from a database that they created using Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) information.  The also retrieved the party enrollment of council members, where available, from a database that they compiled based on FOIL'ed information (that's accurate as of October of 2010). Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG was instrumental in pulling this information together.

See an error, or want to add more?  Let us know.

And without further ado, here's who's who in Western New York.

Regional Co-Chairs

Satish K. Tripathi is the president of University at Buffalo, the largest school in the SUNY system. Previously he served as provost under former UB President John Simpson. Together they crafted UB 2020, a legislative package looking for cash and more flexibility in a rigid SUNY system in order to better position UB as one of the premier research universities in the east. That measure was repeatedly defeated in Albany, leading Tripathi, almost immediately upon taking office, to scale it back. In public, he eagerly accepted the terms of NY SUNY 2020, a dramatically shrunken version of UB 2020 that will jumpstart the school’s downtown medical campus. Tripathi’s pragmatism in convincing Albany to provide its research universities with tens of millions of dollars in tough economic times may have earned him the stripes necessary to lead one of Governor Cuomo’s regional councils. After all, has was just a candidate for UB's president position at the time of Cuomo’s swearing in.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $0
  • Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by UB in 2010: $276,785
  • Registered Independence party member

Howard A. Zemsky is a managing partner at Larkin Development Group. As a real estate magnate, Zemsky has been celebrated around Buffalo for his ability to rehabilitate aging building into functional gems. For example, he spearheaded the transformation of the Larkin Building from an abandoned eyesore to a beacon of best practices. He is as well connected as they come - here’s a snippet of his past work: past president of the  Binational Tourism Alliance (where he was succeeded by fellow council member Duncan Ross), the director of Buffalo Place, a vice chair at Buffalo State College, vice chairman of the HH Richardson Center Corporation, and commissioner of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA).

  • 2010 gubernatorial contributions: $12,500 - Cuomo 
  • Registered Democrat

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1:23pm

Wed September 14, 2011
Who's who

Mohawk Valley economic council: Who's in charge

The Innovation Trail is taking a look at the members of the governor’s regional economic development councils. Here’s what we found.

Methodology

Our reporters brought back short biographies of the folks behind the councils, including campaign contributions in the 2010 gubernatorial election (courtesy of public filings at the State Board of Elections).

The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), at our request, retrieved data about the state lobbying expenditures of council members’ employers from a database that they created using Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) information. The also retrieved the party enrollment of council members, where available, from a database that they compiled based on FOIL’ed information (that’s accurate as of October of 2010). Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG was instrumental in pulling this information together.

See an error, or want to add more? Let us know.

And without further ado, here’s who’s who in the Mohawk Valley.

Regional Co-Chairs

Bjong Wolf Yeigh is the president of SUNY’s Institute of Technology.  He is the former vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Norwich University in Connecticut, and has also served as an administrator and faculty member at St. Louis University, Yale, and Oklahoma State University.  He’s a veteran of the U.S. Navy and earned engineering degrees from Dartmouth and Stanford, and is a Segway enthusiastA proposal from SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher would see Yeigh heading up both SUNY IT and Morrisville State College.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $0
  • Registered Democrat

Lawrence (Larry) T. Gilroy III is the president of independent insurance firm Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy in Utica, which boasts the honor of being one of the top 40 companies to work for in New York State.  His father founded the agency and he purchased it from him  several years after graduating from Hamilton College, where he studied economics. He is a former chair of the board of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises (EDGE) Corp. and still serves as a member.  He’s also served as a board member at Utica College and the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area.

  •  2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $0
  •  Registered Democrat

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11:45am

Wed September 14, 2011
Who's who

Finger Lakes economic council: Who's in charge

Governor Andrew Cuomo flanked by Finger Lakes Council co-chair Danny Wegman (left) and council member Anne Kress (right) at the council's kick-off announcement in July.
Zack Seward WXXI

The Innovation Trail is taking a look at the members of the governor’s regional economic development councils. Here’s what we found.

Methodology

Our reporters brought back short biographies of the folks behind the councils, including campaign contributions in the 2010 gubernatorial election (courtesy of public filings at the State Board of Elections).

The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), at our request, retrieved data about the state lobbying expenditures of council members’ employers from a database that they created using Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) information. The also retrieved the party enrollment of council members, where available, from a database that they compiled based on FOIL’ed information (that’s accurate as of October of 2010). Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG was instrumental in pulling this information together.

See an error, or want to add more? Let us know.

And without further ado, here’s who’s who in the Finger Lakes.  

Regional Co-Chairs

Joel Seligman has been the president of the University of Rochester since 2005 and a member of Eastman Kodak’s board of directors since 2009. He’s also said to be one of the country’s leading experts on securities law. At his day job, Seligman presides over the Rochester area’s largest employer. The U of R is also the sixth largest private employer in the entire state. Seligman also sits on the board of governors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is the largest non-governmental regulator for securities firms doing business in the U.S.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $0
  • Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by the University of Rochester in 2010: $150,964
  • Registered Democrat

Danny Wegman is the CEO of the grocery chain that bears the family name. Wegmans is a much beloved upstate institution that was founded in Rochester in 1916. Wegmans Food Markets has 77 stores, generates an estimated $5.6 billion in annual sales and consistently ranks near the top of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. This year the company placed third - one better than Google. Wegmans is the second largest employer in the Rochester area. Danny Wegman is a voting member of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees. According to campaign finance records, Wegman donated $35,000 to Andrew Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $35,000 - Cuomo
  • Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by Wegmans in 2010: $1,282,834
  • Unable to determine voter registration

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8:55am

Wed September 14, 2011
Regional councils

Follow the money: How NYS is paying for its regional councils

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Finger Lakes regional co-chair Danny Wegman and Governor Andrew Cuomo listening to details at the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council kickoff event in July.
Zack Seward WXXI

As Marie Cusick reported yesterday, the governor’s regional economic development councils are the centerpiece of his administration’s efforts to jumpstart the state’s economy.

The ten regional councils have a hand in dishing out a billion dollars in state incentives. Today, we take a look at how that money will work - and where it’s coming from.

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8:42am

Tue September 13, 2011
Economy

Regional councils face scarce funds, tight deadlines

Lieutenant governor Bob Duffy has his work cut out for him this fall. He's serving as co-chair for all 10 councils.
Marie Cusick WMHT

After months of talk, and relatively few details, Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally unveiled his new economic development plan for the state.

He’s pushing a fast-paced approach that pits regions across New York against each other in a competition for state funding.

So how is it all supposed to work? Who’s involved? And what kind of results should we expect?

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