Norwalk mayor laments loss of EPIC

Duncan: "We will see some jobs come here."
Scott Seitz2
Jan 19, 2014


Mayor Rob Duncan called the impending loss of EPIC Technologies "devastating" at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Duncan took a few moments to talk to council about the eventual loss of the company, which will cost 85 employees their jobs.

Duncan said EPIC officials indicated the closure would take place by the end of the second quarter of 2014.

He added that due to the closure of Janesville Acoustics, officials were in better position to form a Rapid Response team.

"We will see some jobs come here," Duncan said as he closed his remarks.

The meeting started with a 40-minute executive session for economic development purposes.

Afterward, Duncan said he couldn't provide many details about the closed session but did say "this is something we've been looking at for a while.

"We've got to be proactive in terms of incentive packages," the mayor added.

In other business, Josh Snyder, public works director, said it appears a compromise has been reached in regards to the paving of West Water Street.

At last week's meeting, apartment complex owner and city firefighter Jeff Phillips requested West Water be paved, since, in his words, the street washed away in the flood of 2006 and was never repaired.

Snyder and Phillips revisited the site recently.

Snyder said the city will pave a 4- to 6-foot wide section of the road this year at a cost of $1,500 to $2,000.

"That will address the worst area and minimally affect the larger project to come," he said.

Snyder was resistant to do a full resurfacing of West Water because the road will be torn up again in two years for a major sewer project.

Finally, council is reviewing legislation regarding the parking of recreational vehicles, watercraft and trailers.



Re: "'We've got to be proactive in terms of incentive packages,' the mayor added."

"We've got to be,"?

You mean 'you' aren't already?

From where & how will any funding originate?

IMO, 'tweak' the NEDC website. Its overall presentation is stale and the info largely outdated.

Also, why is the "Comprehensive Plan" on the city's website still from the previous admin.?

Per usual, Mayor Duncan appears to be long on promises and way short on results.

As is said: If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

Fibber Mcgee

Have we not heard this many times before? What can we offer ("We've got to be proactive in terms of incentive packages," the mayor added.)that makes us any different than any other village, city, county, state? Would these new incentive packages have kept Janesville and EPIC here? Just asking, hope it works.

J Cooper

I normally wouldn't blame a mayor for employment lose, but this guy ran and won on a jobs, jobs, jobs campaign, what he didn't tell us it would be lose of jobs, jobs, jobs. His deer in the headlights response after the fact is really getting old. Every time we lose jobs he announces that he will have news on a new plan, problem is it's always bad news. Maybe our next mayor should be a businessman or women who has owned and ran a business.


Sounds a lot like Obama.


Re: "The meeting started with a 40-minute executive session for economic development purposes.

Afterward, Duncan said he couldn't provide many details about the closed session,"

"Closed session"?

For the good of the affected community, wouldn't a 'little' transparency and openness regarding responses to developments that he termed “devastating” be in order?

I mean, the word "devastating" sounds pretty serious doesn't it?

Sadly, unlike the previous occupant, the Mayor doesn't even make an effort for appearances sake but makes his remarks in "closed session."


1rst to criticize yet you blame others & self who did do things regarding the community & its future. Stay where you are at since you left the area a long time ago. a g

J Cooper

Do you even read what you post or at least proofread?


I agree with Contango. There is no transparency, because there is nothing to see. Employers don't fall from the sky, They have to be led in. Employers bring jobs, jobs bring income tax. It brings votes. Heck your not doing anything for us anyways with the income tax we pay here. Except maybe a park. Why not give a break to someone who in 5 years could actually bring in some revenue for the city. Time to tell us what really goes on in these sessions. The day of hiding behind the executive session excuse is for Washington. This is Norwalk. We are all in this together.

Really are you ...

Come on now. The sky is falling, the sky is falling, we will be smothered soon. A good portion of the backbone community manufacturing companies are leaving Norwalk, Ohio. This is a fact, it has and still is currently happening. These companies, may have or think they have, think they are moving to greener pastures. They won't be coming back, even though those fields may be fertilized with BS. Don't whine about it. Find out what is wrong in the world, and create solutions. Create businesses to fill the factories that have left. Make the United States a better place for our children and so on. It is tough trying to change your mindset from earning an honest paycheck to providing honest paychecks. But it is something that the people of Norwalk will have to do, to push back at that falling sky.


Want to know what's going on in America? We are being sold off piece by piece. Just another example- Jim Beam just sold to Japan... we are slowly being sold to other countries for the almighty dollar. If we can't find a way to keep the MAJOR companies here, how do we expect to keep the small ones coming in? And yes- I know it wasn't actually Japan itself that bought Jim Beam, but you get my point...

Sitting In The ...

You can't keep the jobs already here but ""We will see some jobs come here," Not to mention why didn't you use these "incentive packages" to keep the companies we already had?


You trolls do not have a clue on what it takes to run a city.


Wholeheartedly agree with @2sense. @contago, when seeing Janesville and Epic pack up offers that the city should "tweak the NEDC website." Why, I don't know why no one ever thought of that before! Employers will be lining up now! The simple fact is, this mayor has been absent on economic development and on leadership in general. It's inexcusable that he should only be now talking incentives after two major factory losses. Further, discussions of incentives should be taking place in open session so that the public can engage in a spirited debate about what our all-knowing leader has proposed. Instead we will just get more platitudes like "jobs, jobs, jobs."


Re: "NEDC website,"

It's Norwalk's world-wide brochure to prospective employers. Shouldn't it be as up-to-date as possible?

Good luck with the incentive route. Norwalk has shallow pockets compared to larger cities.

As an example: Did incentives keep Mid-Ohio Wine? No, Norwalk was outbid by Lorain.

Besides they're already out there on the NEDC website.

"Essentials - Incentives":


Re: "brochure to perspective (sic) employers."

It should be up-to-date, but it is hardly the thing that makes or breaks a business' decision to locate here. It's Busch League stuff. Besides, Janesville and Epic weren't "perspective (sic)" employers.

Incentives can be offered by those without deep pockets. How about relaxing the income tax for any new jobs created, or relaxing the property tax for new structures built? How about cheaper water rates for large-quantity users? These are basic incentives used by many other cities that we do not have.


Re: "It's Busch League stuff"

Hardly. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.


Re: "These are basic incentives used by many other cities that we do not have."

Incentives that everyone else offers is going to bring cos. beating paths to Norwalk how?


If we are worried about good impressions, we should worry about the lackluster quality of the town newspaper. When a company first approaches a town they look at the local paper-- not the economic development website.

Though, for a guy (talking to you @contango) who gets all his news online from the safety of his parents' basement, I can see how website design would be important to you.


Re: "website design"

Your hayseed mentality is showing. Set your time machine dial for 2014, Sport.


Re: "Sport"

... Speaking of time machines. Let's pretend our vocabulary is from this decade.


They won't have companies beating down the door to get in, but it would sure stop the hemhoraging. That's what I would go for in this case. Duncan and his lackey SSD don't know the first thing about company attraction, but they ought to be bale to give themselves tools to help with company retention. Of course, in order to do so, the mayor and Patuski would have to figure out their a*s from that hole in the ground they're looking at.


Re: "it would sure stop the hemhoraging (sic)."

How would it have stopped Janesville & EPIC?

IMO, we need to figure out methods to encourage local entrepreneurship and business development; less likely to eventually pull up stakes with roots in the community.


Re: "how you'll it have stopped Janesville and Epic?"

Since the city didn't have the ability to offer incentives, I guess we will never know will we?

Re: "IMO"

We (I think I safely speak for most of the readers here) don't care what your opinion on economic development is, given that you have no experience in it or evidence to back up your pompous declarations.


Re: "what it takes to run a city (into the ground.)"

Face it: Mr. Duncan was not ready for prime time. He is Norwalk's version of 'hope and change.'

Strange that no one has ever mentioned his political party affiliation in any of the posts I've read.

Thought that they were the party of the rich and were in the pocket of business?

J Cooper

The trolls are those in denial of a mayor who has been a disaster on employment, so return to under the bridge. The mayor was the one who based his election campaign on jobs, jobs, jobs, and he has failed not only to bring jobs but retain them..


"Restarting Our Engines

In spring 2010, Mayor Sue Lesch, in partnership with NEDC, initiated the 'Restarting Our Engines' community forums. The City of Norwalk brought together over 70 community and business leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities our area faces and to determine how we should best prepare for a prosperous future.

In four sessions over two months, the group identified key areas that needed to be addressed and then at the final meeting they prioritized the list.

Working groups have started the process of focusing on major issues within those priority areas. Continuing education, infrastructure, and strengthening our local resource network were items identified as having high importance.

A progress update will be posted later in the spring.

For the summary report or to get involved, contact the city of Norwalk at 419-663-6700."

(The link is gone. This excerpt is from the NEDC Annual Report 2010)

Where is this study? Probably sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

Fibber Mcgee

Wasn't the Comprehensive Plan constructed by the former mayor supposed to be one that can be used for many years? If each mayor makes his or hers own plan, nothing will ever get done. I have never been a fan of NEDC, to me a waste of $50,000 by the city.


Re: "Wasn't the Comprehensive Plan (snip)"

Understood. The execution of its proposals might be a good question to put to Mayor Duncan.

Question: What has been his imprimatur on the business community and economic development?

He has appeared reactionary, not “pro-active.”

Agree, based on its track record, the NEDC appears to be a waste of hard-earned taxpayer money.


Comprehensive plans don't create jobs. This is a red herring. Move on.


Re: "This is a red herring."

Quality of life issues; think again.


Re: "Think again"

Yes, which is why the City reviews it every 3-5 years to make sure they're still on track, and amends it as the need may be. This has continuously happened if my memory serves me, and some decent progress has been made on the plan's recommendations. Most of them are not short term recommendations though. An adminsitration can affect the quality of life without strictly adhereing to a "plan." And none of this creates jobs. It's a red herring. Give it up.