Board Chairman: Seneca Co. making ‘progress’ on important issues

At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, Chairman Bob Shipley provided an update on the three pillars he has been working on since taking the leadership role in January.

Perhaps the biggest issue that has challenged Seneca County during Shipley’s latest run as Chairman is the newfound difficulty in retaining employees. A study was released earlier this year by the County Manager’s Office, which highlighted the number of employees lost — for better paying opportunities at competing county agencies in the Finger Lakes.

The study showed that while Seneca County paid among the least — even compared to counties of comparable or slightly-smaller size — were winning the “workforce retention” fight at Seneca’s expense.

Shipley said, “This board used ‘outside the box’ thinking when we enhanced the wages of targeted county positions that will help reduce the ‘training image’ associated with losing quality hometown talent.” He added, “I believe our county must lead the way in attracting and retaining the best- and brightest.”

The next step in this process, according to Shipley is eliminating the training image across the board in Seneca County.

“We’re now formulating our baseline forecast for the 2018 Budget to determine guidelines for upcoming union negotiations,” the Chairman added.

It isn’t solely about retaining employees, though.

Economic development was another area where Shipley has focused his energy throughout the year. “I asked for collaboration to create an Economic Development Strategy that will support local Businessmen and Women, to help them grow here, in a business-friendly climate,” Shipley continued.

He added that concepts like ‘One Seneca’ developed by the Chamber of Commerce and Seneca County IDA board partnership are the beginning steps of future growth. Shipley admitted that the process of economic development is not instantaneous, and requires a multi-step strategy that will “position Seneca County to capitalize on future trends and opportunities.”

Shipley added that working ‘together’ and as a ‘team’ are necessities moving forward in 2017. He expressed his confidence in the group of people leading the County right now, who in his estimation — make Seneca County a great place to live, work and visit.

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