GOP legislators cry foul, Dems said replacement not political
The Schenectady County Legislature meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 11, became heated over the final resolution, which involved replacing two members of the County's Industrial Development Agency, including Legislator James Buhrmaster, R-Glenville. Buhrmaster, who served on the IDA for seven years, was the sole Republican legislator on the board.
IDAs are a very important operation in county government, they do an awful lot, and a reason why a representative from the minority party of the County Legislature is always appointed to the IDA is to keep that organization transparent, said Minority Leader Robert Farley, who joined Buhrmaster and Conservative Holly Vellano in voting against the move. "You won't know what goes on at this IDA unless a person is in the room from the other side of the aisle because it is a check and balance. This Legislature, in its partisanship and its arrogance, decides that the one Republican legislator on the board needs to be removed."
Evan Christou, a Conservative, is replacing Buhrmaster, and Democrat Catherine Gatta, a recently elected Scotia trustee, is replacing Christine Chiaravalle. Farley said his disapproval for the appointees is not a reflection of them personally, and he would be fully supportive of the resolution if either Majority Leader Gary Hughes or Martin Finn, both Democrats, opted to relinquish their positions.
"This government likes to operate in the dark," said Farley. "Why do you think we do over 50 percent of our legislation through the rules committee tonight?"
Hughes said Buhrmaster's replacement is not a political move.
"I'm really disappointed to hear that about an organization that has been singled out across the United States as an extraordinarily transparent and extraordinarily well-run public authority," said Hughes. "I take offense when I hear that all of a sudden we are going to be operating in the dark."