The Business Council of Westchester said it now “stands alone as the only business, economic development and advocacy organization focused on the county.”The Rye Brook-based business advocacy group released a statement in response to the Westchester County Association’s announced merger plans with the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. The Business Council and WCA have long shared a county –and several member businesses and nonprofits – with occasional rumors of a merger of their own.
The Business Council statement congratulated the WCA and HVEDC on “determining succession and their path forward in the Hudson Valley.”
The WCA and HVEDC will formally merge over the next few months to create a regional economic development and business advocacy organization. That group will be led through September by William Mooney, Jr., the current president and CEO of the WCA. Mooney will retire in the fall, at which point current HVEDC leader Michael Oates will take full leadership of the new joint organization.
Meanwhile, the Business Council said it has “positioned itself to be the clear leader in advocating for Westchester’s interests, while at the same time maintaining strong regional and state ties.” The group pointed to its membership with the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, along with other regional and state-wide partnerships.
The Business Council of Westchester wasn’t the only group to respond to the Westchester County Association’s merger plans. The announcement from the HVEDC and WCA featured comments from a range of government and business leaders.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the merger creates a “first-rate organization that will drive business advocacy and economic development across Westchester and the Hudson Valley.” New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the merger “will help streamline operations, improve services to local businesses and entrepreneurs and spur economic development.”
Westchester County Executive George Latimer, meanwhile, said he will be “will be happy to work with (the new organization) on issues important to economic development and the growth of businesses of Westchester.”