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Vision Together 2025

Elected officials, civic leaders, and the public all came together to talk about the future of Johnstown. A conversation many have been wanting to have with the leaders of Vision Together 2025.

It comes after the group’s leadership told us they would begin holding such events after several investigations into their human capital plan, which included recruiting refugees into the city, were met with criticism from citizens and a bipartisan group of government and civic leaders over the lack of transparency.

“Today’s really part of the transparency that I committed to, and the board committed to so that once a quarter we are going to get together talk about things we are thinking about, talking about our plans and achievements and how the community is working together,” said Bill Polacek, Board Chairman for Vision Together 2025. “Everybody is jazzed up, we are a different community than we were eight years ago.”

The open house at Ace’s in the Cambria City neighborhood came after the group said they spent months collaborating across all sectors of the city on their new action plan. The refugee/immigration idea is not explicitly stated in the plans.

While much of the discussions Wednesday reflected that, It wasn’t all kumbaya.

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc took the stage to speak out against Vision’s President/CEO Mike Tedesco, and said he had no confidence in him for his lack of transparency and his actions toward legislative leaders who have opposed him.

“Unfortunately, your success and progress have been marred by the individual at the top,” Langerholc said. “He’s not representative of the region and he has not grasped the potential direction we are heading.”

Several legislators had asked to meet with Vision about their plans in January. The group had been known to ask its members to sign non-disclosure agreements.

“It’s not my intention to rehash the controversies of the several months or the smug, pompous way they were handled, but I’m left with no choice but to say this,” Langerholc said. “I’ve expressed my concerns many times regarding him to no avail and perhaps this will yield some results.

“Sen. Langerholc has been a great supporter of Vision and we respect him dearly,” Polacek said. “Sen. Langerholc will continue to support us and we will continue to work together with him and I know with his support in the state and this community we will work together and make this community better.”

Tedesco said he didn’t want to say anything else beyond what Polacek said.

Vision plans to host its next public event on January 11th.

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