APA expected to hire economic affairs staffer

Announcement to come before December meeting

Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters in Ray Brook

Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters in Ray Brook Photo by Andy Flynn.

— The Adirondack Park Agency may soon be hiring an economic affairs staffer to replace Stephen Erman, who retired in September 2010.

APA Commissioner and Economic Affairs Committee Chairman Arthur Lussi, a businessman from Lake Placid, has been lobbying the Agency to fill Erman’s position, officially titled Special Assistant for Economic Affairs. Near the end of the Nov. 17-18 meeting, which was largely dedicated to the controversial Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake, Lussi made his pitch again.

“This will be my normal request for realizing how much we need an economic person as part of the Agency staff,” Lussi said. “Our review of this project is demonstrating this extreme need from an analytic standpoint.”

“I understand you will be very happy next month, Mr. Lussi,” replied APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich.

“I look forward to it,” Lussi said.

That brief exchange of words alluded to the possible hiring of Erman’s replacement. Asked if this was true, APA Public Information Officer Keith McKeever stated in an email, “We anticipate an announcement prior to the December Agency meeting.”

Commissioner Bill Thomas, former Johnsburg supervisor, is a member of the Economic Affairs Committee and sees a need for the Agency to have a staffer review the economic impacts of projects that go before the APA.

“In my mind, I think it’s something we should be doing,” Thomas said Nov. 22. “Steve was very good at that.”

The pending announcement is expected to be made before the APA Board meets again Dec. 15-16 to take another hard look at the Adirondack Club and Resort, the largest development project to come before the APA since it was founded in the early 1970s. The Board is taking most of its meeting time in November, December and January to deliberate on the resort’s permit before making a decision in January. And there are some key issues relating to the economic impacts of the development, whether it succeeds or fails.

From 1982 to 2010, Erman was the sole staff member in the APA’s Economic Services Unit, which provides expertise in market and financial feasibility analysis, economic and fiscal impact analysis, and economic development planning. He assisted project sponsors and economic developers in evaluating business locations and identifying other sources of help for business development. For many public meetings and conferences throughout the region, Erman was the friendly face representing the APA.

McKeever would not say who is expected to replace Erman or when that person would start.

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