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Politics and Government

Syracuse wins bid for NY fire chiefs conference, who deserves credit?

Tom Magnarelli
Visit Syracuse President and CEO Danny Liedka stepped into his role last month. He is in his third term as an Onondaga County legislator and chose not to seek re-election this year.

The city of Syracuse was selected as the location for the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs Annual Conference and Expo for three years starting in 2019. But some officials are questioning who gets credit for Syracuse’s win.

The convention features 300 exhibitors, workshops and hands-on training. Visit Syracuse President and CEO Danny Liedka said the last time Syracuse hosted was in 2005.

"It's kind of been a thorn in the side of this community, the fact that we lost it," Liedka said. "It's taken a long time to get it back. Hats off to not only my employees here who have done a phenomenal job, but the community in general really embraced the whole process to bring it back home. It's big, financially for this area."  

It is expected to bring 13,000 people from across the state to downtown Syracuse for a week. Visit Syracuse President and CEO Danny Liedka said that would help businesses and hotels.

“The hotels love it because it fills up the market," Liedka said. "There are a lot of new hotels that have come online but the demand isn’t necessarily up. Something like this is welcomed to the hoteliers.”

Liedka said Visit Syracuse partnered with Onondaga County, the hotel community and the Oncenter to lead the charge in pushing for Syracuse’s selection over Turning Stone, Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

When Syracuse was chosen, the city issued a press release a few days before the fire chiefs and Visit Syracuse made official announcements. But Liedka said the city had no role in the bid.

“It really, to me, is hurtful to my team, and all of the other partners that have been there since 2005 fighting to get this back,” Liedka said.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said the city did play a part by having the highest ranking fire department in central New York. She said over the years, she has signed hundreds of letters urging people to come to the city for conventions.