Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hein's 21

Much like Barack Obama on the national scale, Ulster County Executive-elect Mike Hein deserves a chance to put his program in place.

But much like Obama, who has been criticized in some quarters for trotting out many of the same old faces to build his economics team, Hein's 21-member Economic Development Transition Task Force reads like a who's who of people who have repeatedly walked down this path, generally without great success.

Let me be clear: I know many of Hein's 21. I've worked with most of them on various economic development boards and/or projects. Save for a few, I have a great deal of confidence in their ability and intellect. But if I'm Mike Hein, I go for a totally new set of names and faces to launch a new era of Ulster County government and economic development. This was a "change election" in Ulster County, just as it was nationally. There are few "changes" among Hein's 21.

By the way, it doesn't seem like Hein has much faith in the much-heralded "Ulster Tomorrow" plan. For what it's worth, I'm of the same mind, maybe because "Ulster Tomorrow" displaced a blueprint that I helped write following a similarly heralded "summit" several years ago.

What the "summit" and "Ulster Tomorrow" had in common was that they barely got off the ground before they were elbowed aside. OK. It's not personal, it's business. But lots of local citizens spent a considerable amount of effort on these gambits, particularly "Ulster Tomorrow." Don't expect them to be eager to sign up again the next time they're asked to participate on a project to nowhere.
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