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Batavia Downs Gaming

January 19, 2023 - 12:49pm

otb_leadership_2023_a.jpg“Leadership matters” and that, according to the directors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., is why Richard Bianchi of Monroe County is continuing on as the public benefit company’s chairman of the board.

“It’s my honor and pleasure to nominate (Bianchi) as chair because leadership matters,” said Director Dennis Bassett, who represents the City of Rochester, as he wholeheartedly endorsed the Monroe County delegate for a 13th consecutive one-year term. “He has taken us through tough times and through it all, I have learned that leadership matters.”

Bassett, speaking at this morning’s board meeting at the Park Road facility, said that Bianchi has the corporation’s “best interest at heart” while making the tough decisions and presenting a vision that has resulted in the purchase of a hotel, expanded summer concerts and providing exhibit space for public events.

“We’re experiencing our best years in OTB history and it is the direct result of the leadership of our board chair,” Bassett continued. “There has been sniping at the heels of the chair and this organization, but we have persevered.”

Director Richard Ricci (Seneca County) seconded the motion – noting that Bianchi “gives his heart and soul to this place” – before the board voted unanimously in favor of Bianchi.

That vote was followed by a unanimous vote to keep Edward Morgan (Orleans County) as the vice chair, a position the Murray resident has held for four years.

Bianchi thanked the board for its support, praising the directors’ work as well as the job done by WROTB officers, management and rank-and-file employees.

“The current board is more engaged than ever,” he said. “Let’s just keep up the great work.”

WROTB President/CEO Henry Wojtaszek echoed Bassett’s sentiments.

“Under Mr. Bianchi’s leadership, we have really good morale here with the workers, we've resolved a lot of the labor issues … and the business is at an all-time high,” he said. “And I think the outlook for the future is very bright. The physical plant is in great shape and WROTB is in the best shape it has ever been in.”

In other developments from today’s board meeting:

  • Directors voted to contract with Mind Squad Consulting LLC of Orchard Park for up to $75,000 for training and professional development for WROTB’s key officers, starting with Wojtaszek and VP/Administration William White.

“Bill and I will enroll initially and then we will see the results of that type of training. If we think it is beneficial, we will continue on and then we’ll send our other two officers (Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach and VP/Operations Scott Kiedrowski),” Wojtaszek said.

He said the leadership team has done its “due diligence” regarding Mind Squad Consulting, with the goal to “have us operating at the highest efficiencies that we can.” He said the training will consist of in-person and virtual sessions, lasting up to eight months.

  • The board authorized the purchase of a suite at Highmark Stadium for Buffalo Bills’ games for the next four seasons in the amounts not to exceed $109,000 for 2023, $113,000 for 2024, $117,000 for 2025 and $117,000 for 2026.

The resolution states that the expenditure is in line with WROTB’s “ongoing patron attraction and retention program … to provide entertainment event tickets for a certain level of our patrons as well as for special promotions.”

In a related move, directors approved spending $51,878 with Mark-It-Smart of Santa Ana, Calif., for Buffalo Bills’ clogs, coaster sets, backpacks and coolers to be used as promotional items.

  • The board extended a contract with Kim Crawford to provide consulting services in respect to the surfacing and banking of the harness horse racing track for the 2023 winter meet that is currently taking place.

WROTB will pay Crawford an additional $21,000 to the previously agreed upon contract of $65,000 for 2023.

  • Leach reported that $49,780 in surcharge from November activity will be distributed to the corporation’s member municipalities.

Photo: From left, Henry Wojtaszek, Richard Bianchi and Edward Morgan. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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