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The Buffalo News: McDuffie to become ECIDA Chair

July 11, 2014


By David Robinson  |News Business Reporter 

Brenda W. McDuffie, the Buffalo Urban League's president and chief executive officer, is expected to be named the new chairwoman of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency next week.

McDuffie, who has led the Buffalo Urban League since 1998 and has served on the IDA board since 2012, will replace Christopher Johnston, who had served as the agency's chairman since May 2013.

 Johnston, who left his post as president of the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara in April after a review of the groups' finances led to his suspension, will remain on the IDA's board.


"She has a great pulse on what we're doing at the IDA," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Friday.

"She's someone who understands that economic development doesn't happen in a bubble," Poloncarz said. "She takes into account not just the value of the tax benefit, but also the underlying impact on the community."

The IDA board is expected to approve McDuffie's appointment at its meeting Wednesday morning.


Poloncarz, who was instrumental in naming both Johnston and McDuffie to the IDA board in March 2012, said Johnston recently took a new job at Harper International, a Cheektowaga thermal processing and advanced materials manufacturer.


 Poloncarz said Harper officials had asked Johnston to scale back his involvement at the IDA.


 Johnston has denied that he did anything improper at the World Trade Center.

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