Turn the Page

5 Jan

One way to get past the BERC/One Sunset fiasco would be to eliminate BERC altogether and replace it with something that smells more like a venture capital firm. A resolution to that effect was introduced by Joe Golombek


By: Mr. Golombek

Re: Eliminating The Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. As A Step Towards A New Approach For Economic Development

Whereas: The focus of City government should be on providing basic services such as police, fire, licenses, permits etc.; and

Whereas: Due to fiscal problems at the federal, state and local level, city government must seek to operate in a manner that is efficient and cost effective; and

Whereas: The Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. (BERC) with 25 employees and a budget of $4.7 million is not an efficient, cost effective or productive way to encourage economic development in Buffalo; and

Whereas: City government should not be in the economic development business, as politicians do not know how to create private sector jobs. The poor results from government sponsored economic development programs speak for themselves; and

Whereas: Eliminating BERC and leveraging its $4.7 million budget (which consists of federal and state grants) by joining forces with the private sector and the University of Buffalo, will result in more loan money being available for small businesses; and

Whereas: What is needed in Buffalo is a venture capital organization that provides financing and support to local entrepreneurs seeking to create new companies; and

Whereas: By eliminating BERC we can eliminate the cost of 25 governmental jobs and increase the amount of financing available for small businesses to create more private sector jobs; and

Whereas: Change is always difficult but Buffalo needs to reinvent its approach to economic development. We need to keep an open mind and at least consider some new ideas.

Whereas: Tweaking the operation of BERC to bring about Incremental change is not good enough. We need to completely reinvent our approach to economic development.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved

That copies of this resolution seeking comments be forwarded to:

Dennis Penman, BERC Board Chair, Tom Kucharski, CEO of Buffalo Niagara Enterprises, Andrew Rudnick, CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, John Simpson, President of the University of Buffalo, Patrick Whalen, COO Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Jeffrey Ross, Executive Director Info Tech Niagara, Tim Godzich, CEO Liazon, Tom Ulbrich, Director UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Robert Genco, Vice Provost UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer, and Economic Outreach (STOR), Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D. Director, Business Development UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology, Robert D. Gioia President The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Western New York Venture Association, the Black Chamber of Commerce of WNY, the Latino Business Owners Association, the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Bill Reich, Esq. Buffalo Regional Center, Lou Jean Fleron & Sam Magavern Co-Directors of the Partnership for the Public Good, Robert Franke, Executive Director of the Grant-Ferry Association,

Be It Further Resolved

That this item be referred to an appropriate Committee of the Common Council to review the comments received and to possibly bring in individuals to discuss their written comments further.

Joseph Golombek, Jr.

As an added benefit, when Googling Golombek’s name to verify whether the resolution was actually introduced, I found this article, which I had previously missed, where the North District Councilman made specific recommendations for common council staff qualifications:

Meanwhile, the Council will consider changes in the way lawmakers hire staff. North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. is pushing for three reforms. One would impose new educational requirements on individuals who serve on the Council’s central staff. Under Golombek’s plan, the top two supervisors would need post-graduate degrees in either law or finance. All other employees in central staff, the Council’s main research arm, would need four-year college degrees. Currently, the only requirement for a Council staff job is a high school diploma, which is a standard requirement for city employment.

Golombek also wants a new rule that limits each Council member to having only two full-time staffers in district offices.

Finally, Golombek wants the Council to set up a college internship program in hopes of placing students on its staff who would come with “fresh ideas” and “outside-the-box” approaches to solving problems.

Good ideas.  Here’s video from WGRZ:


2 Responses to “Turn the Page”

  1. buffbills at 7:13 am #

    The resolution calling for the end of BERC will be introduced at the Common Council meeting at 2pm today.

  2. Buffalo Blood Donor at 7:26 am #

    The resolution needs the word “accountable” placed strategically in it somewhere.

    The list to whom the resolution is to be sent is very interesting; virtually everyone on it is a force behind the small-business entrepreneurial environment that’s slowly pecking its way out of its shell here in WNY. I would expect each of them to support a resolution like this, especially if the word “accountable” ends up in it somewhere.

    I would highly recommend that the Common Council take it one step further and demand that anyone receiving funding from a BERC replacement be *required* to take one of the courses set up by UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (and others). If you’re going to be funded to run a business you might as well be forced to learn how to do it effectively and efficiently.


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