Rotterdam IDA moves closer to compliance

The Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency has retained an outside attorney to ensure its compliance with state public authorities law.

IDA Chairman Angelo Santabarbara learned the IDA was out of compliance with the law earlier this summer when local activist Elmer Bertsch, of Niskayuna, criticized the IDA for not filing required state reports at a meeting of the Schenectady County Legislature.

Now, Santabarbara says those reports, the 2007 annual report and the 2008 budget report, have been properly filed.

On Thursday, July 10, the IDA hired Robert Ryan, of Harris Beach PLLC, an Albany law firm that specializes in economic development and state public authority laws. Ryan's services will cost the IDA approximately $275 per hour.

Ryan spent about three hours with the IDA on Tuesday, July 29, providing its members with public authorities training and advising the board that it needs to update its Web site and begin work on its 2009 budget report. He also told the IDA that it must appoint a CEO and CFO.

The board took formal action earlier this month to appoint Town Comptroller Patrick Aragosa as its CFO. Santabarbara said the position of CEO is still vacant. The board has yet to discuss if the CEO will receive a salary.

Ryan said the state mandates these positions to create checks and balances on the IDA.

The board serves as an oversight to the CEO and CFO who are in management positions.

According to Ryan, the small size of the Rotterdam IDA makes compliance more difficult. He said the state Public Authorities Accountability Act, which was signed into law in 2006 was primarily set up for large authorities, like the state Canal Corporation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who have full time management employees. The Rotterdam IDA has no employees at all.

"It's going to take a little more work to come into compliance but next year will be a little easier because they'll be up and running," said Ryan.

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