Seligman Says Photonics Squabble Is Behind Them

Aug 19, 2015

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

"Well, for some of us it's been an interesting week."

Danny Wegman's opening remarks at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Counsel were met by laughter from those in attendance.

There has been a very public debate playing out over the last couple days, through statements and press releases by business owners, local leaders, and elected officials. Everyone is weighing in on where the photonics institute should be headquartered.

UR President Joel Seligman chocks this up to miscommunication. He says there's a straight forward management structure to address these kinds of decisions, and that it was agreed upon before their photonics consortium even submitted their proposal for the money to fund the project.

It's all laid out in a memo, signed by both he and Alain Kaloyeros, the CEO of SUNY Polytechnic. Both institutions can put leaders in place, and put a steering committee together.

The memo doesn't specifically address location of the headquarters, but does state that steering committee members are "responsible for proposing the development and terms of administration of the Program, to be mutually agreed on by the Parties."

To avoid future conflict, Seligman says they have a mediation plan in place.

"Serious conversations will begin very shortly involving SUNY Polytechnic and the University of Rochester as founding members of AIM Photonics, and a senior official of the Cuomo administration."

Seligman says he would have liked to avoid the "unpleasantness" of the last few week, but ultimately the discussion that will come as a result of this disagreement will benefit the project and their partnership.

He says the project is not in jeopardy, and everyone - in Rochester and Albany - is eager to get to work.