When it comes to growing and maintaining jobs and keeping businesses and starting businesses, “You can’t wait for the tail to wag the dog.”
That’s what Erie County Executive Barry Grossman said about turning around the economy and the job market in the county, including Corry.
Grossman, 64, a Democrat who is serving his first term as country executive, spent most of Wednesday in Corry as a guest of former Erie County Councilman Dave Mitchell. After speaking at the Corry Rotary Club meeting held at the VFW, Grossman then spent the afternoon touring buildings and public places like Mead Park.
The tour included a stop at the Corry Journal, where, during an interview, he spoke freely about several subjects, including getting and keeping jobs in Corry, the economy, public transportation, a community college, and property taxes.
And unlike his predecessor, Mark DiVecchio, Grossman has no plans to replace seated board members and directors at the county level. He said he communicates regularly with Rick Novotny, executive director of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority and economic development specialist for Corry. Grossman has toured Corry’s industrial park to see for himself the effort behind Novotny and the Corry Redevelopment Authority to grow and maintain jobs in Corry — from the incubator level to possible expansion.
“He’s a great guy,” Grossman said about Novotny. “I have a lot of respect for him and his operation.”
Grossman called the bankruptcy sale of Erie Plastics and closure of the company “a blow to the Corry community.” Grossman, who attends meetings of the Erie County Industrial Development Corp., said he believes entrepreneurs are the people creating jobs — not government.
“The private sector is where the energy comes from, where the jobs are created,” Grossman said.
He added that it helps to have a partnership between governing bodies and the social groups of a community.
“We need the partnerships to work, but ultimately, we have to reach out to the private sector,” Grossman said. “You have to find out what they want, what they need.”
And, not waiting for the tail to wag the dog means you have to rely on local community people and not expect an outsider to come in and save the job market.
“You have to fertilize the local people,” Grossman said. “They’re vested in the communities. Their families are here.”
Grossman also said he is not in favor of outside companies buying into a community.
See the Journal's Wednesday, March 31st edition for full story.