Janesville plant closing is 'devastating' for community

Norwalk mayor says he's working with senators, congressmen, Team Neo, JobsOhio and Gov. John Kasich's office on the situation.
Scott Seitz2
Aug 30, 2013


Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said the news of the impending closure of the Janesville Acoustics plant is devastating.

"If there is a positive, it's not closing today or tomorrow," Duncan said.

Duncan said he and local economic officials will do everything they can to keep these jobs local.

"And, we have an action plan as well," he said, adding to help support once they are laid off.

Duncan said he's already working with senators, congressmen, Team Neo, JobsOhio and Gov. John Kasich's office on the situation.

"We have been and will continue to aggressively market our strong workforce," Duncan said. "We are looking for any and all opportunities.

"We have a great workforce here and this is a great location, close to the turnpike and the water," the mayor added.

Duncan said his heart goes out to the workers and their families.

"We'll do everything we can to make sure they have jobs," he said, adding programs are in place at Job and Family Services for displaced workers.

Will workers be able to transfer to other plants across the United States?

"I asked that question this morning and was told they have not made a decision yet," Duncan said.

The plant is in city councilwoman Deb Lucal's first ward.

"I'm surprised, but I'm not surprised," Lucal said. "I think Janesville has been here 50 or 60 years. I know a lot of people who work there.

"I think the Industrial Parkway will be totally empty now, except for two businesses," Lucal said. "I just don't know how to remedy this situation."

Lucal said Janesville was an extremely good company to work for.

"I didn't really see this coming, there was no indication," she said.

"This is very sad," Councilman Stephen Schumm added. "I really feel for the workers and their families. This affects the whole city of Norwalk and the whole Huron County area. It's just a bad situation."

Councilman Chris Mushett echoed the same sentiments.

"These are good factory jobs, which are becoming harder and harder to replace," he said. "This will create a ripple effect for other businesses across the city and area. You hate to see that stuff happen."

"I'm surprised and saddened," Council President Steve Euton said. "These are 300 families that were told they won't have an income. This is bleak for these folks and the community. I feel for them."

"My feelings go out to all who have lost these good-paying jobs," Councilman Bob Carleton said.




Stop feeling and start doing!


JobsOhio? Really?


To little too late. Mayor Duncan should have went to them when he took office and asked what it would take to keep them. What has his focus been anyway?

hit the road jack

Why didn't the union go to them and make some concessions?


Has this Mayor done ANYTHING since he took office?


Re: "Has this Mayor done ANYTHING since he took office?"

Spent money.

believe it

Why do people keep blaming the mayor? The company made the decision to leave, not the mayor. You guys are seriously idiots. I don't even live in Norwalk and find this pathetic.

ThomasJefferson said "Mayor Duncan should have went to them when he took office and asked what it would take to keep them"...What are you talking about? When he took office there was no signs that they were going to leave. So with that theory, Mayor Duncan should have went to every single business in Norwalk and asked what it would take to keep them.

Use at least a little common sense people.


I'm not blaming the mayor. Wasn't his fault for them leaving. I just want to know if he has done ANYTHING to bring, make or keep jobs here. Janesville left-in my opinion- because of cheaper labor and no union to deal with. Mayor can't compete with that.

Kottage Kat

Have any of you personally spoken with the Mayor?
Sour grapes cause he didn't move a swing set??
How quickly some have forgotten.


swiss family

@Kat...... "sour grapes cause he didn't move a swing set"???????? what are you talking about??? NO, Kat, the reason people are obviously disappointed, and feel lied to, is because that is the catch phrase for his campaign,,, remember.."jobs, jobs, jobs...

You were the one jumping all over the past Mayors actions , every time any jobs were lost, You were the one toting the praises of our current Mayor, saying things will be so much better if we "oust" the old Mayor, and turn to the new hope for the future with his "jobs, jobs, jobs" campaign promises...so to that end I am sure you can understand the citizens frustration..

As for your question about talking to the Mayor...I would hope that all 16,000 Norwalk citizens will NOT go to talk to the Mayor. and take him away from the job he promised to deliver.. I would much rather have individuals give him the time and space he needs to fulfill his promises, and get out there and promote Norwalk, and entice new companies into our town and work with all of the current businesses to keep them here

And with all due respect, I think your comment about "moving a swing set" is a cheap and personal shot, we get it..Mrs Lee must be one of the posters who is being critical of the Mayors lack of fulfilling his promises, and if she is, and if re now rescinds her faith and trust in the Mayors actions, she is allowed to do that, and her actions, feelings and opinions are hers and not yours.. and she is allowed to have any feelings that she does..I think that she, along with most every other Norwalkians would be "dancing in the streets" if, in fact, they were announcing that a new auto manufacturer is coming to Norwalk, creating 1000 jobs,in spite of if he moved some silly swing set, or not..

Kottage Kat

Thank you for your commentary.


swiss family

Kat... you are more than welcome...


Get real! I know who you are and I know what you offer to this community and it is nothing but blissful ignorance!! There is a reason we jump on the past Mayor in situations like this.... City Parks do not create jobs!!!

swiss family

LEG>......I am very real...so there is NO getting to it... and I couldn't care less if you know who I am.. I would however say that you might be way out of line and completely off the mark when you judge me for"what I offer to this community" you obviously don't know everything about me, nor is it any of your business what I do or don't do, because obviously , Unlike you... I do not go around bragging about all of the good things that I do... so I would suggest that until you walk a mile in my shoes , or any other person's shoes as well, you will not and do not know everything that makes them who they are....you remember that "little Christian light of yours???? it looks as though someone "Puffed " it out" in my opinion

swiss family

It slips my mind now "leg.." what jobs have been created in this administration??? I do remember that a NEW dog PARK was accommodated , so far though??????


It is either The Mayor's fault or Bush's .It is also their fault individual health Insurance for individual plans is going up as much as 400%.Now this is according to the editor of Amac that just received his notice !


I agree that the Mayor ain't at fault.

HOWEVER, Mayor Duncan campaigned AND WAS ELECTED on a strong economic development platform.

If a large employer moved in, does anyone doubt that he would take the kudos?

Good, Bad or Ugly, he asked for, politic'd on and OWNS this issue.

Question: Why isn't $50K plus savings in taxpayer money realized annually by eliminating the NEDC?


Kottage Kat

How quickly some have forgotten the faux pas of former administrations. NOTE: plural


Re: "How quickly some have forgotten,"

As I often say: This is a process, NOT an event.

The point: Did he or did he not campaign on jobs, jobs, jobs?

Should politicians be held accountable for their campaign promises OR not?

IMO, he owns the issue - The good, the bad AND the ugly.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : All though, I dislike criticizing as well as second guessing those with the courage to run for public office. Have to agree here.

Mayor Duncan, obviously used the 'jobs,jobs,jobs' catch phrase to get elected. So, as a politician he does 'own' this issue as you point out and as such,deserves some of the 'who lost Janesville ? heat he is getting.

Having said that, what I deem important is : " Where do we go from here ?" Here's hoping Mayor Duncan can tap into some of that 'can do' spirit that made Norwalk so great in the past. For God knows we need a "leader", not another politician with catchy phrases at this critical time.


Re: "some of that 'can do' spirit that made Norwalk so great in the past."

I would welcome that Zeitgeist as well.

Sadly, it appears more and more that "Elvis has left the building" and all that increasingly remains are the "Norbillies."

IMO, a city the size of Norwalk cannot fiscally adequately maintain a reasonable quality of life on a tax base composed of retail service jobs and govt. sponsored fixed incomes.


No one can keep a company in town once it has made up it's mind to leave. The only one that I can think of is Schulman in Bellevue and they did talk them into staying. However, both Ge and Armstrong left. That was at least 1000 jobs. A lot of people never got involved because it didn't affect them. That is the same with this plant. If you don't work there, you say, "Oh so sad" and go on your way. Everyone in Norwalk needs to write the company and ask them to reconsider.


Believe it....it is a well known fact that Janesville struggled here for years...they are getting tax incentives to go where they are going..and the Mayor and economic development should have been bending over backwards to accommodate them.

Kottage Kat

No one speaks up or is concerned about plants closings until it affects them. Then it goes into attack mode.
When one has the courage of their convictions,they can take the heat. I do and I will.

swiss family

Please Kat... don't go into "Martyr mode".... you are wrong though when you say that "no one speaks up or is concerned about plant closings until it affects them" I would be willing to bet that NOT all of the commentators on here who have a negative opinion about the loss of this plant, are either employees or families of employees there... Just like the outcry from the entire community was heard and felt when Norwalk Furniture closed, and it was again Not all employees and families of employees at that time either...in my opinion of course


Re: "No one speaks up or is concerned about plants closings until it affects them. "

Councilman Mushett voiced concern about the loss of tax revenue.

This closing will affect EVERYONE.

IMO: Eliminate the NEDC and save tax dollars. Would circumstances be any different without it?

Kottage Kat

We have lost tax revenue with each plant that has moved on, have we not?
Will the last plant to leave please make sure the tumbleweeds are still downtown
thank you


Re: "Will the last plant to leave please make sure the tumbleweeds are still downtown,"

Sad to see the loss of that old support and optimism for the Mayor Duncan campaign platform of hope and change. (I won’t write: I told ya so.)

I've been writing for yrs:

Norwalk spends hard-earned taxpayer dollars in order to educate the best and brightest and then they leave - the dynamic is unsustainable.

IMO, fiscal austerity is the only "holding action" possible.

One step: Eliminate the NEDC and work closer with that OTHER taxpayer-supported agency, the HCDC.


Kottage Kat

I have not stopped supporting Mayor Duncan. Take a look around, suggestions on jobs, please tell the Mayor. I am sure he could use your input.
Delusional or realist???. Doesn't matter, the war with Syria is going to solve all problems.

Now The Rest of...

I wasn't the one who ran and was elected on a jobs, jobs, jobs platform. If he didn't have the answers he shouldn't had made the promise, typical politician, says anything to get elected. Its about local jobs, not Syria, good try at attempting to divert attention away from your guy's failures.