Saturday, March 29, 2008

'Lost' Chamber, Lost Jobs

It was disappointing this past week to learn that Standard Chartered Bank would not be bringing 300 jobs to Utica.
Utica's offer was compelling, Chief Operating Officer Matthew Millett stated in a March 21 letter to Roefaro. But, Standard Chartered could not risk losing more than 90 percent of its employees had it moved operations to Utica, he stated.
The question that must be asked is why would more than 90 percent of its employees choose Newark, New Jersey, over Utica, New York as a place to live?

While those who have never lived outside of Utica might say, "Who would want to come to Utica," those of us who have lived out of the area know better. If you have a good job and do not have to worry about supporting yourself, there are few better places to live and raise a family. Why don't outsiders know that Utica is a good place to call home?

"Not From Utica" had something to say about this on the OD Forum that is worth reading.
Imagine that you are an employee given the option of moving to Utica or Newark.

The first thing you do is check the chamber of commerce websites. Newark's gives you a wonderful description of their city and so forth. Utica's chamber website doesn't exist and you are forwarded to the Mohawk Valley Chamber website. This website has no description of the city and most of the content is simply links to offsite webpages. The content about Utica is just plain lacking, with not even a link to the city's website (or at least I couldn't find one).

Why, indeed? Chambers of commerce are supposed to be a community's number 1 booster, but Utica's chamber refuses to even bear its community's name.


Mayor Hanna 30 years ago called it the "Chamber of No Commerce" and that description applies to this day. I've blogged about this in the past, and will merely refer to past posts if anyone is interested (scroll below this post on the new page).

The Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce is a disgrace and an insult to its home community. It must accept significant responsibility for Utica's decline.


Chris Van Patten said...

The "MV Chamber" argues they have the entire valley's best interests in their mind (hence MV) but in reality, they are only worsening the problem by being accomplices to suburban sprawl.

Wow... how did I not realize this before?

Mrs Mecomber said...

Great point! I didn't know Utica didn't have its own CofC. So... who is going to start one? I doubt the city will...

Strikeslip said...

Mrs. M - It is not a function of the City to start a C of C. That is a private matter for city businesses to do.

The Mohawk Valley C of C WAS the Utica C of C. . . . but for some reason, those who were in charge claimed that they wanted to be more "regional," so they changed the name to the MV C of C ... apparently not caring that the "Mohawk Valley" name applies to the area from Rome to Albany. The leadership of the Utica Chamber (who were from New Hartford) seemed to bend over backwards to get rid of "Utica" -- but when they did, they made it difficult to locate themselves on a map. Kind of stupid for an organization that is supposed to be promoting its area, don't you think?

And while the MV C of C was trying to style itself as the "regional" Chamber, the New Hartford, Marcy, Rome, Herkimer County Cs of C still continued to exist.

This is one of the big things I have against regionalization (and the attitudes of a lot of the folks running New Hartford (which is where I live)). The way regionalization has been done has been wrong for Utica. Utica is made to be the only one "contributing" -- even to the point of giving up its own identity -- while all the other communities continue to go their own merry way. In the end EVERYONE loses because they literally have cut the heart out of the region.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, you know that your C of C is in trouble when its president (at the time) owns the local baseball team (Blue Sox) and proceeds to nickle and dime it into the ground, then sell it.

Strikeslip said...

Thanks for the link, Anonymous... an interesting read. I almost forgot about Mr. Fowler.

Utica, for some reason, too often is thrown under the bus for personal gain.

Anonymous said...

Utica is NOT a good place to call home - if it were we would not be bleeding population and having to artificially prop our numbers with a stream of refugees. What would our numbers be without them? How soon before they realize the situation and start leaving themselves? Our problem is Albany and the reps we send there - when we start replacing these clowns with competent people maybe we'll turn things around - Yes Joe and Roanne that means you.

Anonymous said...

As usual Strikeslip, your take on things is very sharp. I can't imagine why no-one realized this.

And since you bring up this point, why not throw the EDGE in the trash while they're at it.

The City should have a C of C proper, not another etherially connected non-producing non-profit or entity. These outfits have become part of the problem! Not the cure.