In Canastota, Gates leaves in protest

Christopher Gates sent a brief note of resignation to the president of the Canastota Development Corporation board of directors May 24:

"I am resigning as a member of the board of the Canastota Development Corporation," Gates wrote. "I will not be a member of the Canastota Development Corporation Board so long as Jim Gustafson or Joel Arsenault are on the same board. They have conflicting commercial interest at stake."

Gates said Gustafson, an accountant, and Arsenault, a realtor, have worked for more than a year now to undermine the progress of what he considers to be a successful incubator program.

According to Gates, Gustafson and Arsenault cost the incubator a new tenant last year when they voted against the installation of three-phase electrical service to the CDC's business incubator on Madison Boulevard in the Canastota Business Park. He said when they voted against the move, others followed suit, defeating the proposition.

"We had the money to do this, and we had tenants requesting the service," Gates said. "These were production-type people who wanted it. That's who you want."

The upgraded electrical service is more conducive to manufacturing-types of businesses with typically heavier power service needs.

"Renting office space is nice, but those types of businesses don't produce anything," Gates said, explaining that the incubator is a stepping stone for growing businesses that will bring jobs to the community.

Gates said this year, the three-phase power installation was approved, but with contingencies attached.

"In March, [Gustafson and Arsenault] said, 'OK, we'll vote for three-phase power, but we want credit checks on people coming in,'" Gates said. "What do credit checks do? It's only got to do with money. But if they can't pay, we ask them to leave."

Gustafson said Gates' business development philosophies differ from some of the other board members.

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