During last week's Town Board meeting, we had the opportunity to hear from the "Promoter" who delivered a presentation midway through her 1-year term. In full transparency, my initial enthusiasm for this hiring decision was limited. It's not a reflection of any disrespect towards the individual, but rather my firm belief that the responsibilities in question would be best executed by the officials we elected for this specific role. Nonetheless, I approached the presentation with an open mind, hoping to be persuaded otherwise.
She began by providing an overview of the Sizzlin' Thursdays initiative, a campaign in which Bedford Hills businesses offered special deals each Thursday of July. She also noted her work with local real estate agents and town departments. She concluded her presentation by outlining upcoming projects, some of which appear to extend beyond the initial 1-year term which implies her consultant role might be more permanent than the short-term temporary consultant status initially indicated by the Town Board.
My takeaway: I was disappointed to not have key aspects addressed by the promoter or even asked about by members of the Town Board following the presentation. A few examples of basic information and data missed from the meeting:
What is the current count of business vacancies compared to the number when you first started your role in March?
How many landlords have you engaged with, and what are their perspectives on the issue of vacancies?
Have you spoken to prospective businesses and what are the reasons behind their consideration or non-consideration of Bedford Hills?
How many of these potential tenants have you successfully connected with Bedford Hills landlords?
What metrics are you utilizing to assess the state of local commerce and to measure progress in the hamlet?
What proactive measures are being taken to retain existing businesses in Bedford Hills?
These inquiries represent fundamental questions that would provide invaluable insights, making it all the more regrettable that they remained unaddressed. To be clear, not a single question was posed by the Board following her presentation. This 'silence scenario' has played out regularly over the last two-plus years I have been attending these meetings. The Town of Bedford deserves better. Successful leaders - whether that be of a local economy, business, non-profit, or otherwise - engage with thoughtful inquiry and data-backed information to make informed decisions. Our local economy is in need of that - and that is precisely what you will receive with Mike Palladino and Don Scott as your elected representatives.