Nothing against Richard Tobe, but it seems political leadership in this region always has a way of looking to retreads to move our way into the future. He will be Mark Poloncarz’s Deputy County Executive and Economic Development Czar. (I hate the word Czar and wish it not be used ever again.)
Tobe, 62, is an attorney who has held key posts in and out of government for years, dating to an early position as top aide to the late Assemblyman William B. Hoyt, D-Buffalo. Since then he served as commissioner of environment and planning to former County Executive Dennis T. Gorski; head of Buffalo’s Department of Economic Development, Permits and Inspections under Mayor Byron W. Brown; a former member of Buffalo’s control board; vice president of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; and adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo.
I know that Mark Poloncarz and friends will point to his experience, etc. But this seems like a safe choice by the Erie County Executive to be and not very inspiring.
The county and region is still bleeding population. The local job market isn’t exactly bursting with opportunity. And for any measurable economic development, oodles of the people’s cash has to be thrown at developers to kick start projects. Richard Tobe has been around in local government a long time. The same local government that has been a mess for a long time.
With that said, I really wish him well and hope that he can bring Mark Poloncarz’s economic development ideas to fruition. The proof will be in results.