Allegany County Economic Development Office is back on the agenda

Timothy Boyde

BREAKING: Allegany County, NY, will attempt Wednesday to re-start its efforts to create a new Office of Economic Development and an economic development director position, with adoption of a local law which was abruptly placed on hold in June, and temporarily appoint former County Administrator and Deputy County Administrator Timothy Boyde to the position.

A public hearing on a local law which establishes the department and the director’s position, along with a nine to 17-member Economic Development Advisory Board, will be held at 2PM September 27, in the Board of Legislators chambers at the County Office Building in Belmont.

The Board, after adoption of the local law, is scheduled to vote on appointment of Boyde to a $69,000 part-time position, the proposal for which popped up suddenly last week some three hours before a meeting of the board’s Planning and Economic Development Committee.

A second resolution, appearing at the same time, creates a position of Deputy Director of Economic Development, although no salary is designated and County Administrator Carissa Knapp said there is no intent to fill it at the present time.

Boyde, who was appointed as county administrator in 2016, acting county administrator in April 22, 2019, after the unexpected resignation of Deborah McDonnell who had replaced Boyde upon his retirement from the position, and then acting county administrator and deputy county administrator at different times since. The former county administrator is a resident of Central Pennsylvania.

Knapp said that Boyde’s appointment as director of economic development would be on a temporary basis to guide selection of a permanent director and the transition of economic development activities from Alfred State College.

The county had been contracting with the college, with Industrial Development Agency Director Craig Clark, the college’s vice-president for economic development, serving as the county’s economic developer.

Knapp had told Allegany Hope in June that postponement on the local law, which she had previously promoted for quick action to enable expedited hiring, resulted from her discovery that the job description which was being prepared didn’t match up with provisions of the proposed legislation and “could affect the job advertisement and application process (which is) easier to fix now rather than later.”

It wasn’t immediately determined as to any changes which have been made in the proposed local law from the June version.

Allegany Hope Executive Director Casey Jones told board members at the June public hearing that he felt the local law was “too restrictive and can have a potential negative impact on Allegany County and its residents going forward.”

He said that the focus should be on overall community development, of which economic development is an important part, but issues such as housing, public health and safety, mental health and well-being, education, parks and recreation, libraries and information centers, general infrastructure and more are all components of a community development umbrella, whereas economic development is just one part of the whole.