Thursday, December 6, 2012

Beating a Bureaucrat

I called and e-mailed repeatedly.  Alerted in late 2004 that our Port Authority's land that was once the grounds of the former Newark Air Force Base was to be granted a HUBZone designation by the SBA, I made contact with the person assigned to our region of the country.

Economic development tool boxes are best that have a variety of tools to fit the right company needs.  We want HUBZone status if we can get it.

We've had two, real deals consider our location only IF it had HUBZone status.

Now, I've made a career cutting through red tape to get things done, but this Department of Commerce guy was a bureaucrat's bureaucrat.  I wrote about him before.  Hear his January 2008 voice message to me.  It's both hilarious, and sad.

It was September 2008 before we could find our Port Authority designated on the HUBZone map.  And that was only after then-Congressman Zack Space's office assisted getting an answer.

Then, the status was lost 15 months later in December 2009.  It lapsed at the same time as the law-designated five year expiration period. 

It lapsed just as we were talking to a prospect which desired HUBZone status and as we were pondering building a new building on our campus able to accommodate new, small businesses.

Attempts for "reparations" were falling on deaf ears, though.

That's why the best victory to date came Tuesday when the Defense Authorization bill made its way through the Senate with 145 amendments including one, should it survive Conference Committee, which promises to restore our HUBZone status for awhile.

No one person does it alone, but U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, personally, was a bulldog in following through.  An amendment worked hard by him in 2011 didn't make it.  He kept at it though.

His staff was great.  Amazing work.

Our local Mayor, Mark Johns, made it his personal mission to keep fighting for proper reparations too.

Together, we beat the bureaucrats' bureaucrat.  That's reason to smile alone.

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