News & Opinion » News

Dinolfo sums up her accomplishments, agenda


Monroe County's chief economic development agency is losing its association with lunch and getting a name that's more of an inspirational and aspirational call.

The subject at hand is the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency, which everyone calls COMIDA, literally the Spanish word for food; the progressive group Metro Justice once issued a critical report of the agency, which it titled "COMIDA Isn't Spanish for Free Lunch." County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said during her State of the County speech last night that the agency has been renamed Imagine Monroe, "inviting businesses to imagine the limitless possibilities and endless potential here in Monroe County." (Its website is now

Dinolfo's speech — her first State of the County address — contained some new initiatives, mainly around workforce development, but no real headline-grabbing pronouncements. She sprinkled some of her first-year accomplishments throughout, reminding her audience that her administration held the property tax rate flat for 2017, started an Office of Public Integrity, and dismantled a few of the scandal-scarred local development corporations that had taken over some county services.

She delivered the address at Monroe Community College's new downtown campus, which is opening in the fall. And she touched on a few other upcoming projects, including an overhaul and expansion of the Seneca Park Zoo and renovation of the county airport.

But the most attention was given to jobs, particularly workforce development. Dinolfo announced a training, recruitment, and placement program called LadderZup; the Z makes it hip or extreme or something. The program is meant to help prepare workers and high school students for careers in high-demand programs such as mechatronics, precision tooling, health care, photonics, and IT medical assistance, Dinolfo said.

Dinolfo promised that the county would offer child care to anyone enrolled in the LadderZup program.

The county has also created Paths to Empowerment, a program that uses existing funding — Dinolfo didn't say what funding, specifically — to provide 2,700 households with job coaching, financial literacy services, and drop-in child care.

The address didn't touch on some of the county's employee contract issues, however. Jail deputies, for example, have been working under an expired contract, a situation that's led to vacancies as staff retire or take other jobs. Nor did the address cover caseload and vacancy problems in the county's Child Protective Services department, a situation of great concern to the workers and local children's advocates.

The full text of Dinolfo's speech follows below.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo Delivers 2017 State of the County Address by jmouleatcity on Scribd