To:  BALCONY Members & Friends... 


BALCONY, at its recent Advisory Board meeting in Albany on February 10, 2011, decided to urge its members and friends to support the efforts of the Workforce Development Institute to be reauthorized and financed in the 2011/2012 New York State Budget.  


The following is a message from Mr. Ed Murphy, WDI Executive Director.  




Dear Friends,


Ed Murphy, WDII have spent the last ten years building WDI, a non-profit that serves working families, unions, businesses, the disabled and offering childcare funding for low income families. Governor Cuomo's budget office proposes to reclaim funds that previous Governors and legislators gave us and that would close our operation.  I am sending this letter asking for help; that letters and e mails to be sent to the Governor and Director of Budget. Please click on the email links and send a note to the Governor and Budget Director letting them know WDI is an asset not a liability for New Yorkers. 


February 8, 2011




The Governor's proposed budget will close WDI on March 31, 2011.  I am asking you to alert Governor Cuomo and Budget Director Robert Megna that this is a mistake, damaging working families and counterproductive to the new administration's strategy to strengthen regional economic capacity.  This memo offers an overview of our situation and a strategy to address it.




The WDI Annual Report, explains what we do for working men and women, our service to business and labor and our role as a third party intermediary between business, labor, government and environmental organizations.  In the last year, WDI has operated on reappropriations from previous years, providing targeted and flexible services where government agency funds have been restricted. These operating funds have enabled us to develop regional capacity, strategic alliances with businesses and unions, and bring in millions of dollars in Federal funds.


The Governor's proposed repeal of our reappropriations is a mistake; part of a general sweep of available funds by staff in the Division of the Budget (DOB).  They do not know what we do.  We need those funds to keep our doors open.  Even if we were to get new money in the coming budget, it would take us six (6) months to get contracts in place, signed and approved by the Attorney General and Comptroller; and then gain access to any new funds.  On April 1, 2011, we could not pay rent and staff salaries or offer services without the funds we already have contracts for.  Those contracts would not be valid if funds are repealed, as is being proposed.


Further, no bank would lend us money without valid contracts in place to back it up.  We have no assurance of a budget being passed on time.  Also, as long as the word repeal remains in the proposed budget, state agencies will not be allowed by DOB to reimburse us until the word repeal is removed with the Governor's signature.  That is what happened last year, but we had some reappropriations that were not repealed and were able to continue using them until the word repealed was removed when the Governor signed the 2010-11 budget.  This year they propose to repeal everything.




The first phase of our strategy toward enabling WDI to exist after March 31, 2011 is to get Governor Cuomo to amend his proposed budget submission to include the reappropriation of our

funds.  This is the highest priority for us now.  Under the NYS Constitution, the Governor has 30 days to amend his budget, but recent practice established by the Budget Reform Act, gives him only 21 days from February 1, 2011, when he submitted the budget.


Therefore, we must get all of our allies focused on immediately communicating to Governor Cuomo and the Director of DOB that the repeal is a "mistake".  We need to get letters and e-mails to both the Governor and Director of DOB immediately.  Our message is that

this was done by DOB staff as part of a larger move to save money without them knowing what WDI does and how effective our work is, and that it supports the Governor's efforts to strengthen New York's economy.


The Annual Report has plenty of examples of success for letter writers to use; of where we help businesses, workers and families, region by region.  We do that with flexible funds; filling gaps in available resources, distribute money quickly, when existing state agency programs are unable to respond, especially during a transition in government.  The Governor wants to streamline programs and make them more responsive.  It will take him time to establish his programs, and we are already operating, in place and helping.


The next message is that these operating funds have enabled us to bring in millions in federal funds, like the Smart Grid money which has created 65 outside lineworker jobs in five (5) months, is on track to create 150 jobs per year for 450 jobs in three (3) years.  We were supported by Governor Paterson, NYS Smart Grid Consortium and NYSTAR in this application and one of only two (2) projects in NYS to receive funds and mentioned by the PSC in their energy plan.  Our successful childcare program, which serves 1,700 families and 2,500 children, will end if we do not have people to staff it.  So will our community college program for the disabled.  Without our operating funds, we cannot support these supplemental programs and our federal funds will not come into the state. 


Further, we will no longer be here to provide workforce intelligence, green jobs training and serve as an intermediary between, state agencies, organized labor, environmentalists and business.


Please get all our partners in your regions and across the state, businesses, those we have trained and other partners to write letters this week.  We must act now.  Each of them can use the messages I mention and those in the Annual Report, on Page 3, and examples on the following pages to draft their letters.  It is less important whether the letters are perfect.  We need lots sent now from all over the state.


The messages should be very clear and specific.


We want the Governor to renew our funds
as seen in his 2011-12 proposed budget.


Bill Numbers S2803 and A4003

Aid to Localities Budget


Page numbers:


Pg 404, Line 14-22, WDI Operations, $4,823,000


Pg 405, Line 28-31, Erie Canal, $1,354,000


Pg 405, Line 32-34, IBEW $108,000


Pg 405, Line 49-52, ATU, $307,000


Pg 405, Line 53-57, Bldg. Trades, $325,000


Not all of that money is left to spend, but these line items focus on the original appropriations from years ago.


Please distribute the Annual Report and e-mail copies of the report to your complete personal and professional network asking them to write to the Governor and Budget Director immediately.  The Report is also available on our web page: wdiny.org.   


Letters should be sent to:


Honorable Andrew M Cuomo, Governor

State Capitol

Albany, New York 12224



Robert L. Megna, Budget Director


State Capitol

Albany, NY 12224


While letters are most important they should also e-mail messages through the following links:


Contact Governor Cuomo


Contact Division of the Budget: Comment Form


Please let me know if you need more copies of the Annual Report.  While we are focused on the Governor and Director of the Budget now, we will need to continue our focus on the Legislature to renew our funds.  Legislators can also communicate with the Governor directly, so please ask them to do that making the same case, that WDI is an essential partner.  We will also need them in the next phase to get funds for next year.


Please share this information with your personal and professional networks by e-mail.


People are speaking out through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.  We are standing up for working families.  This strategy will work if we use these technologies, engaging our personal, social and professional networks and get them to act, NOW.  Tomorrow could be too late.  Each day counts.  The more we flood the Governor's office and DOB with information showing how valuable WDI is to New York State, the better chance we have of continuing to help the workers of New York.


For more information, please contact Ed Murphy at emurphy@wdiny.org.


Thank you, in advance, for your help.


Ed Murphy

Executive Director

(518) 463-2141 




What We Do

The Workforce Development Institute (WDI) uses workforce intelligence to identify new skills required by New York's workforce, and then develops programs to teach these skills.


WDI provides funding for training when training couldn't happen otherwise.


WDI works with business to strengthen current skills and teach new ones, allowing union workers to get and keep jobs.


WDI provides training to help all workers (union and non-union) learn new technologies to keep up with the changing nature of work.


WDI provides timely skills training to help individuals get and keep jobs.


WDI prepares the workforce for jobs in emerging green sectors, such as renewable energy, smart grid technology, and energy efficient building renovations.


WDI brings together labor, business, environmental groups, government, and other constituencies to seek new avenues of growth for manufacturing in New York State.


WDI supports low income and underserved workers, promoting diversity in the workplace.


WDI helps keep jobs in New York State.






481 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1202

New York, NY 10001

(212) 219-7777


Lou Gordon, Director




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