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December 12, 2012

Pro-business group enters its 2nd year


“It’s a narrow focus of just one thing: pro-growth,” he said of Voices. “And then it grew into a voice for business, which wasn’t being strongly spoken.

“We’re apolitical. Our biggest focus now is trying to ensure in the public conversation around the water cooler or wherever that somebody is talking about more jobs in the area. Nobody is talking about that.”

The group doesn’t have a formal membership, Armao said. “Our email list is a couple of hundred.”

But it does have a steering committee.

The committee members are Armao, who is a partner in Country Club Auto Group; Robert Harlem, president of Oneonta Block Co.; Richard Harlem, a partner in the Harlem & Harlem law firm; Wayne Hymers, owner of Otsego Auto Crushers; Christine Amos, an assistant vice president at NBT Bank; Steve Harris, president of Royal Chrysler; and Richard and Michelle Eastman, president and chief financial officer, respectively, of Eastman Associates, a general contractor.

Also, Mike Zagata, environmental protection commissioner in the administration of Republican Gov. George Pataki; Rebecca Lloyd of Oneonta Block Co.; Steve Lutz of Lutz Feed; Becky Thomas, co-owner of the Benson Real Estate Agency; Mike Pentaris, chief executive of Custom Electronics Inc.; Jamie Reynolds, vice president at NBT Bank; and Bill Mirabito, vice president of Mirabito Holdings Inc., a director of Corning Natural Gas and a member of the Oneonta Town Board.

Citizen Voices has invited numerous experts and officials to its meetings to explain their positions. This week, two experts will discuss the implications of the Affordable Care Act.

Ralph Morse of Kaatirondack Benefit Planning Inc. will discuss what is known about new regulations resulting from the act and the estimated timetable for releasing the remaining details, according to a media release from Citizens Voices. George McLain of George C. McLain Tax & Payroll will talk about the known and expected effects that the law is likely to have on small businesses.

The meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. this morning at the Carriage House at 790 Southside Drive in Oneonta.

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