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'Restarted' economic effort in works

October 18, 2012
MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN Financial problems are causing the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth to dissolve the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and the Crossroads Incubator Corp., officials said today, although they insisted the agencies are not bankrupt.

The CRG, parent company of the EDC and CIC, and Fulton County government conducted a news conference today to announce the dissolution and launch a new Business Development Marketing Plan for the county.

The plan makes the CRG more accountable to the county, triples the county's public taxpayer-funded allocation to the private agency to $75,000 for 2013 and allows appointment of up to four CRG board members by the county Board of Supervisors, officials said.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Officials announce a new economic development plan Thursday at the county office building in Johnstown.

"Our program needs to be restarted," board Chairman Michael F. Gendron said. "We can't and we won't give up."

CRG Board of Directors Chairman Dustin Swanger added, "There was a sense we needed to come closer together."

Officials said about five county officials and CRG officials have been meeting since June to develop the new marketing plan, which was precipitated in part by a 2010 scandal involving the EDC and CIC. Federal income tax returns showed former EDC Senior Vice President Jeff Bray and CIC Executive Vice President Peter A. Sciocchetti received $3 million in bonuses that their boards of directors later said were not approved by them.

Officials today said that starting Jan. 1, the Board of Supervisors will have an increased role in "governance" of the CRG by requiring the CRG to annually file audited financial statements with the county board chairman. The new marketing agreement includes several other requirements as well, such as having the county's allocation go toward marketing only.

No CRG staff reductions were indicated.

More on this story will appear in Friday's print edition.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at johnstown@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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