The publicly funded business plan competition known as 43 North, has contracted with no fewer than three separate recruitment firms to identify its next Executive Director, raising serious questions about how ‘economic development’ funds are being spent.
Executive Director John Gavigan last Fall that he would step aside from the position to pursue other opportunities, following the recruitment and installation of his successor.
The program then proceeded to contract with Superior Group, Performance Management Partners, and MyAqueduct — three separate locally owned staffing firms — to recruit for Gavigan’s replacement.
That’s not the type of job creation that the program was envisioned to create. Political observers see the behavior as politically connected contracting for influential local business people, like the abrasive Sharon Randaccio, who an all female firm that participated in the contracting arrangement.
At that time the Board advised the recruiters that they would prefer a local candidate who is familiar with Western New York’s business community and political landscape, given the uncertainty surrounding the program’s continued funding.
The StartUpNY programs, funded by the Cuomo Administration’s Buffalo Billion, has failed to produce promised jobs. In recent months it has been the target of criticism, particularly from Republican Assemblyman Ray Walter.
43 North is chaired by Bill Maggio, who was suited in recent years by his father, who alleged that he defrauded him of substantial investments he made in a start up company founded by Maggio.