Sunday, July 24, 2005

Who controls EDGE?

The article in today's Observer-Dispatch about EDGE's recent "no-bid" contract on paint raises more questions than it answers.

One paragraph in the article was particularly provocative:

". . . But although about one-third of EDGE's $1.1 million annual budget comes from Oneida County, most of its budget is not made up of public funds. Much of EDGE's money comes from real estate revenue at Griffiss Business and Technology Park, privately raised funds and membership dues . . . "

This raises three questions:

1) Why are real estate revenues from Griffiss Business and
Technology Park not "public funds?" Wasn't the Technology Park formerly federal property given to the public, or was it given to a private group?

2) From whom is EDGE accepting "privately raised" funds and why?

3) Why are there "membership dues" and who are "members?"

It's reasonable to expect that whoever controls EDGE's money can exercise influence over EDGE's actions.

The article also reveals that EDGE is a private "not-for-profit" corporation," that EDGE has Griffiss Local Development Corp. as its main subsidiary, that EDGE also has a "for-profit" subsidiary called 394 Hangar Road Corp., and that these entities have differing procurement policies. More questions are raised: Who are the shareholders of EDGE? Who are the shareholders of the subsidiaries? Who elected their various boards of directors? Who is on the boards? Why do the subsidiaries have differing status regarding profits? Who is entitled to the profits? Is anybody getting a dividend?

There is much more at stake than EDGE's procurement practices. The real issue is whether Oneida County's industrial development policymaking authority has been usurped by a group of private individuals who are, essentially, acting in their own interests.

If anyone has answers to these questions, please post them here.

[For FOLLOWUP COMMENTS see Utica Area Discussions]

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