Friday, August 08, 2008

Letter From Chairman Donaldson

Dear Editor:

During a public hearing on the ‘Ulster Tomorrow” economic development plan this past Wednesday, August 6th, the Republican County Executive Candidate Len Bernardo showed a complete disconnect when claiming he had his own plan and was against the Ulster Tomorrow plan as a guide line for economic development. That disconnect was clear when he said, “The Ulster County Development Cooperation should have found out what the towns wanted.” It is too bad that he didn’t pay attention, listen or participate in the process that took place over the past 18 months because that was one of the main thrusts to the many things the UCDC did during their intensive fact finding mission in creating the Ulster Tomorrow Plan. So for the sake of information he should be made aware of the following:

  • Approximately 200 citizens from around the County participated in formulating the goals, strategies, and actions in the plan. It is the most intensive study of this kind ever done in Ulster County with citizens that represent a very diverse cross section of the community, with almost every conceivable viewpoint and interest group included, from environmentalists to manufacturers, from artist to car dealers, from the most liberal to the arch conservative.
  • Thousands of person-hours have been expended reaching consensus on the elements of the plan.
  • Town supervisors were specifically asked for their views and priorities, along with the priorities of their specific neighborhoods which resulted in the Steering Committee thoroughly discussing the varying needs of individual communities.
  • The process involved a systematic investigation of obstacles to development, and the strategies were designed to tackle as many of these as possible – while still continuing to welcome any constructive ideas on how to better address them.
  • Solid supportive research by professional economic experts was done on the County’s economy, trends in our community and in the larger global marketplace, along with how environmental changes will have an effect.
  • Dozens of open meetings, probably scores, have been held over the last 18 plus months – with abundant opportunity for anyone to give input and get involved

The Ulster Tomorrow’s consensus goals and alignment of purpose have already produced “wins” such as the bipartisan support for The Solar Energy Consortium and the Shovel Ready infrastructure jobs projects in Saugerties and Lloyd which will bring 100s of bread winning jobs. The formal adoption of the plan in a bipartisan manner by the legislature would bolster several current major projects involving hundreds of jobs – both retention and creation, while increasing significant state and federal grant opportunities.

Len Bernardo was awarded many opportunities to get involved and participate, or at least get an understanding of what was being done, why and how it would effect our county. He chose not to. I respect that not all people have the time or desire to volunteer. I only ask him not to insult all those that did volunteer their time and all the work that went into this comprehensive plan. It would be foolish to lose this once in a lifetime opportunity for Ulster County to create a united front in our economic development efforts because a candidate didn’t know the facts.

As someone that was once a strong critic of the UCDC, I applaud them and all the volunteers for their work and will ask for the formal adoption of this plan to be done immediately to show that Ulster County is not content in discussing and arguing the plan details and approaches indefinitely, but is ready for action to create good jobs now.

David B. Donaldson, Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature and Chief Executive Officer


Anonymous said...

Say what you want about Bernardo's criticism, but this economic develpoment plan like the rest of the Econmic development in this county in the last decade or so is completly inadequate and will be proven to be ineffective. Think about how many millions of dollars have been spent on economic development in the last decade and what actual jobs have been created for all that money spent. Not many. The County has a huge net job loss for the last decade and it seems only to be getting worse while the counties around us like Greene and Dutchess and Orange are doing much better and have a much better idea of how to go about this than we do. The only conclusion you can come to in all of this is that the people involved, volunteers or not, have absolutely no idea what they are doing in this area. Just look at the results of the other counties compared to ours...there is no excuse for it. Donaldson is obviously one of those people. Results speak and those have been few and far between for 10 years now. The fact Donaldson is a public servant does not mean he excapes us something.

Anonymous said...

Did they tell you the company that dids"Ulster Tommorrow" was from Vermont. That 2 companies from Ulster bid on the original RFP for about half of what they bid. But they had a democratic friend. This will cost at the end about $295,000. When the local bids were about $30,000-$35,000. By the time they get there act together there will be no economy in Ulster. Its a total failure thank to Mr. Donaldson and Rodriguez our children are leaving or gone

Anonymous said...

Under Donaldson's failed economic development policies, not one company applied for Ulster IDA funding last year. Donaldson & the Dems are chasing jobs and businesses are leaving Ulster County.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody tell you that the volunteer Head of Ulster Tomorrow Mr. Sutherland spouse got appointed to a full-time post at the Ulster Comm College Foundation?

Good Old Boys.

Anonymous said...


You put in a lot of time to help our community. You are ill equipped as are your cronies to handle taxpayer funds - take your Teacher's, salary, health insurance and pension - relax.