My take on the Ironman Task Force

To the editor:

My take:

The Ironman Task Force worked diligently for eight months hammering out recommendations for 2022, 2023 and, if all was moving in the right direction, 2024. We had crafted a document that was palatable to all sides of the Ironman Lake Placid issue and had room for evaluation and cancellation. The Ironman Lake Placid contract was not on the public village board agenda for July 18 until an hour or so before the meeting and was put in front of all parties for an immediate vote. Again, and for the second year in a row, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism finds itself under the gun (as Ironman Lake Placid is about to begin) to sign or approve Ironman terms for the upcoming years. And at that point it becomes urgent. How can they not know this?

I got a copy of the signed contract through FOIA (why shouldn’t our taxpaying citizens be able to see this?) and only one recommendation out of 15 was included in this contract. Yet in every interview given by ROOST, the task force recommendations are rolled out and waved about as being the definitive word on what all parties would find agreeable. The entire content of the Ironman Lake Placid contract are Ironman demands with seemingly no stipulations by ROOST on behalf of the affected communities. Our task force recommendations, an afterthought, were to be attached as Memorandum of Understanding … an unenforceable document meant to placate all. As far as we know, this MOU document has yet to be attached to the contract. The 14 other legitimate recommendations were ignored. This started in the fall with a flawed survey, no facts or figures provided to the public beforehand to be able to make an informed decision on keeping Ironman and now the ruse of ROOST proclaiming that they “worked to ensure that the contract includes the need for recommendations to be implemented.” Our hard work has been used to give the appearance of compliance.

My position on the Ironman was known well before I was asked to be on this (volunteer) task force. Apparently some members felt we were all meant to join in goose step on the topic. Perhaps my “wake up and smell the coffee” notes were too direct. Trish Friedlander and I withstood numerous insults and name calling from fellow task force members (I won’t even begin to list, it is too puerile). I, like Trish, took myself off of this task force on July 28. The vitriole was unacceptable and it seemed an exercise in futility.

It was a task force, not a cakewalk. Diverse opinions should have been encouraged and insults should not have been tolerated.

Regarding the interview with Mary Jane Lawrence in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: the words “underhanded” and “undermining” were never directed at her by any member of the task force, the words “lack of transparency” and “ROOST has a PR problem” were.


Ann Stillman O’Leary

Lake Placid


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