Michael Berardi, chairman of the IDA’s board of directors, said the six-member body voted unanimously last week to suspend the wage rule for one year.
For at least a year now the IDA board has tried their hardest to undermine their own policy and it has finally come to a head. The policy became a cheap excuse for the boards lack of success at attracting businesses to the county.
There are speculators that say some members on the IDA board purposely told half hearted developers to complain about the policy and feign reluctance to proceed because they would "have" to pay decent wages to construction workers.
That doesn't seem so far fetched considering all of the crying from Colony Liquors last year and the fact that they are building with prevailing wages in their new location in Greene County. Not to mention that prevailing wages actually fit into their budget here.
There is also a rumour that some on the board have kept a couple of developer pals in the wings so that after they finally killed the policy - they might look smart for once when these poor, needy developers step up. One of them owns half of Ulster and Orange County. He really needs the money.
I wonder if they made a new policy that said construction workers should be paid in food stamps if that would be more in line with their thinking?
Using their logic, the County whose people make the lowest wages are the biggest winners!
IDA board member Jennifer Fuentes, who supports decent wages, said she favored suspending the wage policy for a year because she believes it has nothing to do with the lack of developers seeking agency assistance and that the suspension will prove that.
Fuentes says that opponents have said repeatedly that the wage policy hampered development, and “now they have a year to prove that business will be pounding down the doors of Ulster County now that we have no standards.”
IDA board member David O’Halloran said the wage policy has been a roadblock to developers and that suspending it will send an encouraging signal to companies looking to build in Ulster County. Dave is obviously is against people in Ulster making decent wages. What a guy! Wonder where Dave works.
“We need to remove every possible barrier to allow business to grow, expand or relocate to Ulster County,” O’Halloran said. “We need to roll out the welcome mat.”
Sam Fratto, assistant business manager for Local 363 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said the IDA board should not have suspended the policy and never really gave it a chance.
“This (agency) was created to enhance the economic well being of residents in the area,” Fratto said. “It wasn’t made as a form of corporate welfare, which it has become.”
Rally the troops.