The Otsego County Industrial Development Agency has tapped Alexander “Sandy” Mathes, the former economic developer for Greene County, to lead its efforts to lure new businesses to the region, officials said Thursday.
Editor's note: It was announced Friday that Mathes would be joined by Elizabeth Horvath of Cooperstown, who will serve as chief operating officer of the IDA.
Otsego County Rep. Betty Anne Schwerd, R-Burlington, said Mathes will be stepping into a position that is critically important to the county’s future.
“We might as well hang it up if we don’t start bringing businesses to this county,” said Schwerd, who confirmed Mathes accepted a three-year contract with the county. The contract allows the IDA to cancel the arrangement by giving him a 60 day notice if it is believed that he is not producing the desired results, she said.
The retention of Mathes is scheduled to be formally announced today at a press conference to be led by Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who has also emphasized the need to bring new companies to the region and has been an advocate for a business-friendly tax climate in New York. County Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego, the chairwoman of the county Board of Representatives and Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, among others, are also scheduled to speak at the press conference.
Schwerd, an IDA board member, said she could not recall precisely how much money Mathes will be paid annually for his services by the IDA, but noted it will be between $100,000 and $125,000 per year. Because he is not a county government employee, he will not receive the county benefits package, saving taxpayer dollars, she said.
In an appearance before the Otsego County Board of Representatives in June, Mathes, a former member of the Greene County Legislature, emphasized the need to have “quality” industrial sites, adding: “The end game should be good-paying jobs.”
He also said the county should focus on its strengths in marketing itself to companies looking to expand. Mathes said the county should focus on its strengths in marketing the area to businesses looking for expansion opportunities.
“Your railway infrastructure is incredible,” he said.
Mathes, who has also worked for late state Sen. Charles Cook, will have an office in the county building at 242 Main St. in Oneonta, officials said.
County government has been without a full-time economic developer since last August, when Carolyn Lewis left her $48,500-a-year job. Lewis was hired in October as the economic development coordinator for the State University College at Oneonta.
Mathes was hailed for his economic successes in Greene County while serving as head of that county’s Industrial Development Agency from 2002 to 2010, the Kingston Daily Freeman reported in March 2012.
The newspaper said then that Mathes left that position “amid significant criticism over his salary and bonus structure.” The report noted his salary rose from $75,000 in 2002 to $130,000 in 2010.