CRG head says he’s leaving

GLOVERSVILLE – Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese says he will leave his position by September.

The 58-year-old Reese said Wednesday his contract with the county’s top economic development agency was for three years and was extended last year to run until Sept. 30, but he said he may leave before that time. He said he notified the CRG board of his intentions about a month ago.

Reese said he wanted to give the CRG board of directors ample time to hire his replacement.

“I decided to give them advanced notice,” he said.

CRG board Chairman Dustin Swanger couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday or this morning.

Reese said it is no secret the public scandal in recent years involving the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and the Crossroads Incubator Corp. – CRG subsidiaries – has taken a personal toll on him.

“I’ve been under a lot of stress the last two years,” said Reese, a resident of German Flatts, Herkimer County.

Reese said he’s not sure whether he will work in another economic development position in the future.

“I haven’t really made a decision yet,” he said.

He said if he continues working, he wants a job with “less stress” and one “not quite as involved.”

Reese was elevated to his current position – the day-to-day administrative head of the CRG – after a scandal involving two former executives. The executives were longtime local economic developers Jeff Bray and Peter A. Sciocchetti. The two were accused by the CIC and EDC of taking millions

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of dollars in bonuses not approved by the agencies’ boards of directors. The bonuses were discovered in May 2010 through federal tax filings.

Reese has about 35 years of economic development experience. He began his career in 1979 at the Economic Development and Technical Assistance Center at the State University of Plattsburgh. In 1983, he was appointed executive director of the Herkimer County Area Development Corp. and vice chairman of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency.

He was hired by the EDC in September 2008 after spending 22 years as the executive director of the Herkimer-based Mohawk Valley Economic Development District. During his time with MVEDD, Reese helped obtain $40 million in federal and state grants for projects in the Mohawk Valley that leveraged $100 million in total investments.

In January 2010, Reese was promoted to president and CEO of the EDC. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Reese to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council in July 2011.

Upon the creation of the CRG in March 2012, Reese was appointed by the board of directors as CRG’s president and CEO.

Reese has been awarded the title of certified economic developer by the International Economic Development Council and the Economic Development Finance Professional Certification by the National Development Council.

In 1993, he was the recipient of the New York State Economic Development Council’s Robert T. Dormer Economic Developer of the Year Award.

Reese is a previous president of the New York State Economic Development Council and served as treasurer of the council.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.