New leader for Local Government Review Board
RAY BROOK — The Local Government Review Board has a new head, although he is quite familiar with the post.
Beginning in October, Saranac town Councilman Jerry Delaney took the helm of the LGRB, replacing longtime head Fred Monroe, who semi-retired.
“The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board consists of Members appointed by the governing bodies of the twelve counties wholly or partly in the Adirondack Park,” the LGRB’s mission statement says. “We work to insure that the interests of the people of the Adirondack Park and their local governments are protected as the Adirondack Park Agency carries out its duties set forth in the Adirondack Park Agency Act.
“We believe that the Adirondack Park should continue to be a multi-use park and that it should be accessible to all who work, live and visit the Adirondacks and that traditional uses should be allowed to be continued.”
One of the biggest roles for the executive director is its seat at the APA board table, alongside the commissioners. Although the LGRB does not have a vote in APA matters, its leader often offers insight that other APA commissioners may not have.
Delaney, who started his career in logging and then took on a role with the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said he retired from DOCCS in September and looks forward to heading the LGRB. He is also in his 11th year as a Saranac councilman. November’s APA meeting was his first as director of the LGRB.
“It’s big shoes to fill, so I believe any thinking person has to think about that,” he said after the APA meeting last week. “So I had my concerns, but I think it’s going well. My experiences are obviously different, so my passions are a touch different than Fred’s. But I have no doubt that I’ll be able to manage the broad spectrum of things here.”
Delaney said Monroe is still with the LGRB as communications director, saying “We didn’t quite let him go.”
Delaney said the LGRB is focused on maintaining the Adirondacks as a place that honors and allows traditional jobs and industries to continue within the Blue Line.
“One of the issues we are working on is supporting the forest industry,” he said. “The Adirondacks was built around resource extraction — whether it was mining for iron ore or garnet (and) logging — and as the state has bought up a lot of land, that has really impacted the economy of the park.
“You’ve lost all those jobs and associated jobs. So we’re really interested in making sure that we can support what’s left of that economy so they can stay and thrive.”
He said that as society shifts away from paper products, the state has aided the forestry industry in some ways, but there are other issues for the LGRB to keep an eye on as well.
“The SLMP (Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan) was written in 1972 and hasn’t had much updated,” he said. “Not one of us is left driving a 1972 car as a daily driver. The recreational uses have changed dramatically; technology has changed dramatically. We need to take a strong look at the SLMP and (figure out) where some changes can be made just to broaden recreation.
“Most people think Adirondacks and hiking. There’s a lot more potential here. It’s easy to do hiking through the SLMP; it’s not easy to do stuff like backcountry skiing. So we need to look at the SLMP to see if we can get somewhere with that.”
Delaney said he views his role as that of one of advice-giver.
“Constitutionally, we’re here to advise and assist the APA board on land use matters within the park,” he said. “So I see our role as two different voices: the voice of local government and the voice of the applicant — the homeowner, the business owner. We can weigh in when we see things that are burdensome in some way.
“I think the (APA) staff is doing a really good job of helping people get there, but there are some times when people have good ideas, but it’s burdensome. And we can probably get there without being so burdensome. So I just see us as an advocate for local government desires and the desires of individuals.”