Carman replaces Maguire on IDA, and Jones now heads ethics board

Lee Carman 

GUILDERLAND — The town board is set to vote, at its Feb. 4 meeting, to approve changes to two boards in Guilderland. 

Lee Carman will join the Industrial Development Agency, and F. Lee Jones will head the ethics board after the departure of Joseph Glazer. 

Supervisor Peter Barber said on Monday that Lee Carman served as town-board liaison to the IDA for four years. 

Barber said the IDA “is a quasi-independent board, so we try to keep our distance, but we do appoint.” He said he always first checks to see if the IDA has anyone in mind. 

The town had posted on its website notices of openings on the IDA as well as on the planning and zoning boards and the conservation advisory council, Barber said, but had not been contacted by anyone interested in joining the IDA. 

Industrial Development Agencies, part of a program New York State started nearly a half-century ago, are meant to spur economic development through tax exemptions and bond financing to projects that meet certain criteria including provision of a needed service or creation of jobs. 

 

IDA 

Maguire is the vice president for workforce development and community education at Schenectady County Community College and previously was the director of economic development of the Capital Regional Planning Commission. 

Maguire told The Enterprise this week he needed to leave the IDA to have enough time to pursue other opportunities. Maguire was elected to Guilderland’s school board in May 2018 and remains on that board. 

He was appointed to the IDA in June 2017.

The IDA is a seven-member board, and is term-limited. Members can serve a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms.

Carman served on the town board for four years, where he was the only Republican. He was ousted in November in a three-way race for two seats. Incumbent Rosemary Centi got the most votes, and Democrat Laurel Bohl came in second. Bohl had been a grassroots activist critical of the pace of development in the town before joining the board. 

Carman had also previously served three terms in the Albany County Legislature.

Carman did not return a call asking for comment. 

Recent projects the Guilderland IDA has voted to give tax breaks on include:

Promenade at University Place: This project on Western Avenue across from the University at Albany received a tax exemption for $32 million in bonds to be used to finance the conversion of the building from a Best Western hotel to an assisted-living facility. Promenade, which opened in December 2018, has had issues with Legionnaires’ disease — one resident died — and is currently prohibited by the state’s department of health from accepting new residents. The facility is fighting the prohibition; 

A car wash currently being built on Western Avenue across from Market 32 and the State Employees Federal Credit Union will receive $300,000 in tax breaks, a decision made in September 2019;

— In March 2019, the IDA granted about $315,000 in tax breaks to Phillips Hardware to build a new, larger store with gas pumps at its location between Guilderland Center and Altamont. Construction has since been placed on hold after a series of setbacks caused president Jonathan Phillips to re-scale the company; 

— Pyramid’s dual-branded hotel on Western Avenue in front of Crossgates Mall, which Pyramid also owns; the hotel project received just over $1 million in tax breaks, but was denied a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes. 

Pyramid had also asked for a tax break late in 2018 for its proposed 222-unit Rapp Road apartment-and-townhouse complex but asked the IDA to table a vote on the matter when it became apparent that the vote was going to go against the company. 

 

Ethics board 

Joseph A. Glazer, an attorney in private practice, joined the ethics board as the chairman in 2017. 

He said this week that he served three years but that he had decided that his work as a lawyer does not allow him enough time to devote to the work of the ethics board. 

“It has some very busy times during the course of the year and also they try to meet fairly regularly,” he said. 

Before Glazer joined, town attorney James Melita was briefly appointed head of the ethics board after the departure of the previous head, Brigitte Fortune. 

Barber said the town does not post on its website openings on the ethics board because the ethics board is “a nonpolitical and nonpartisan board.” 

The ethics board reviews the annual disclosures listed by town employees, said Barber; it also convenes if necessary to review any complaints of violations of ethics law. 

“I don’t know if they have had much to do the last few years,” Barber said. 

At the Feb. 4 town board meeting, Councilwoman Laurel Bohl encouraged members of the public to apply to fill two vacancies on the ethics board.

F. Lee Jones, the new chairman, and Lowell Knapp both started on the ethics board in 2014. An article from the time of their appointment said that Jones was a Republican and Knapp was not enrolled in any party. Current voters rolls confirm this.

Jones previously chaired Guilderland’s zoning board of appeals, and Knapp produces the “Our Towne” publication.

Jones could not be reached and Knapp did not return a call asking for comment. 

 

More Guilderland News

  • With an increase of half of a percent in state Foundation Aid for next year and a limit of $1.6 million more to be raised from taxes, the Guilderland schools are hoping to be able to maintain the programs and staff they have with this year’s $102 million budget.

  • In addition to this stabbing, there have been three brawls at Crossgates Mall over the past two months, with two of them caught on video and widely reported. 

  • Pyramid has agreed to convey to the Rapp Road Historical District five properties that it has bought within the district; the properties could be used, it says, to build a cultural center. The district denotes a rare intact neighborhood of homes built by African-Americans who came north from Mississippi during the Great Migration. 

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