Barrett to chair ORDA board of directors

The former chairman of the New York State Republican Committee unofficially took the helm of the state Olympic Regional Development Authority's Board of Directors yesterday.

Pat Barrett sat in as chair of Tuesday's regular ORDA meeting, replacing Joe Martens, who earlier this month was confirmed as the new commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Barrett is expected to be appointed permanently to the post by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Pat Barrett worked for Andrew Cuomo during his gubernatorial campaign last year, and served as chair of the state Republican committee from 1989 to 1991.

He also served previously as chair of ORDA and currently holds a seat on the board.

At the beginning of this week's meeting, outgoing ORDA chairman Joe Martens said he thought Barrett would do a great job back in the top spot.

"I had big shoes to fill," Martens said, referring to Barrett. "And now you have big shoes to fill. The nice thing about the transition here is that I'm still on the board, I still love and believe in the institution and the organization, and it's great to have you back at the helm here - it's going to be a pleasure working with all of you."

Martens was recently confirmed as DEC commissioner but will remain on ORDA's board as the representative for the Conservation Department, according to ORDA spokesman Jon Lundin.

At the beginning of the meeting, Barrett thanked Martens for his tenure as ORDA chairman and wished him luck in his new role.

"Joe will do it in a great manner, and he has the full faith and confidence of the governor, and you got one tough job ahead of you," Barrett said.

Barrett takes the helm at a time when ORDA is struggling with deep cuts in funding from Albany and labor issues with workers at the state-run Olympic venues in Johnsburg, Lake Placid and Wilmington.

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