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Paterson to restructure state development agency
|Gov. David Paterson plans to do away with one of the two leadership posts within the Empire State Development Corporation (EDSC) as a way to unify the agency that oversees development throughout the state.|
During a question-and-answer period in the New York Times Midtown headquarters, following a live interview before a packed auditorium with Times journalist Matt Bai, Paterson spoke of pending changes to the agency.
"You can't have an upstate economic development chair and a downstate one, which is what we have right now. We've got to have one chair on the Empire State Development Corporation, because we're one state," the governor said, when Bai asked about the city's economic responsibility to the rest of the state.
Bai was posing the question on behalf of a Buffalo resident viewing the hour-long interview and submitting his query via Web cast.
Paterson later told reporters that during a meeting it was decided "it sends a wrong message" to have two chairs of the agency.
"Not that there was anything wrong with the talent, but we felt that there was a problem with the structure. We also felt it sent the wrong message. This is one state," he said.
The former downstate chairman of the ESDC, Pat Foye, resigned in March when Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down amid a prostitution scandal.
The upstate chairman, Dan Gundersen, still holds his post.
"I'm sure one person can be sensitive to these issues all around the state," Paterson said, pointing out that the federal government only has one secretary of commerce and one housing chair.
Paterson said Gunderson is not leaving and did not get into specifics on staffing changes to the agency.
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