Lewis County

December 28, 2006: Empire Zone Administrative Board : Special Meeting





December 28, 2006

  1. Call to Order: The meeting of the Lewis County Zone Administrative Board (ZAB) was called to order by Chairman Schneider at 8:32 AM in the meeting room at the Town Of Lowville Municipal Offices, Lowville, N.Y.

  1. Roll Call: Directors Present: Fred Schneider-Chairman, Virgil Taylor, Terry Thisse, Wendy Perry, Glenn Gagnier, Doreen Garrett, Elizabeth Woods, Verle Yelton, Gary Williams, David Rounds, Robert Teal, Arleigh Rice, Scott Markham, Haskel Yancey, Eric Virkler. Legislators Present: Jerry King, Joyce Hoch, John Boyd. Others: Ned Cole, Vicki Roy, Mary Young, Renee Beyer, John Sorbello – Lewis County Economic Development, Steve Virkler – Watertown Times.

  1. ZAB: Executive Committee Report – Appointment of Members to the New Zone Administrative Board.

Mr. Schneider addressed the Board members present and stated that according to Empire State Development the Chairperson of the ZAB must be an employee or an officer of the sponsor.  Since the Sponsor is the County of Lewis and he is not an employee or an officer, the County has appointed Mr. John Sorbello as Chairman of the ZAB effective January 1, 2007. 

Mr. Schneider continued to state that at a meeting this fall with the County Manager the decision to decrease the number of members on the ZAB was made.  The number that was discussed was at this meeting was approximately thirteen members.  Based on this recommendation the ZAB Executive Committee met and complied a list of thirteen members that they felt were a good representation of the County and included representation from six areas as mandated by the State Regulations.  The Executive Board submitted this list to the Board of Legislators for their approval.  Mr. Schneider further stated that the Zone Certifying Officer may not serve on the Board and that the Applicant is responsible for hiring the Zone Coordinator.  Mr. Schneider stated that during this time he and other members of the ZAB had discussed with the County the fact that they felt the ZAB should be involved in the process of hiring a new Zone Coordinator.  Mr. Schneider stated that he was told that he and one other member of the ZAB would be involved in the hiring process.  Mr. Schneider stated he was removing his name from the ZAB member list. 

Mr. Schneider addressed the nomination of Marion Opela to the ZAB as a representative of Education.  Mr. Schneider stated that he had made many phone calls looking for a representative to serve on the Board.  He stated that he had found a gentleman from JCC who would serve on the ZAB.  He presented the person to the County Manager who stated that the person needed to be a resident of Lewis County.  Mr. Schneider stated that he contacted Mrs. Opela and she said that she would serve.  She is currently active on the Beaver River School Board and on other Boards in the Community.

Mr. Gagnier addressed Mr. Schneider and asked why he was removed from the Board.  Mr. Gagnier stated that he would have liked to have known ahead of time that he was going to be removed and why, and stated that he understood the number of members on the ZAB needed to be reduced.

Mr. Schneider stated that he felt the Executive Committee was under a time constraint to make these recommendations and that the list needed to be given to the Legislators quickly.  He apologized for not informing the ZAB before sending the new member recommendations to the Board of Legislators.

Mrs. Young addressed Mr. Schneider and asked about why certain groups were left out of the list of members.  Mr. Schneider answered her question and stated that there were only so many slots to fill and that not everyone that was previously on the ZAB would be able to continue to be on the ZAB.  Mr. Schneider also stated the ZAB members are on the Board to deal with the subject matter of the Board.  Each member is not present to represent a municipality but to administer a function.  Mrs. Young stated that the Village of Lowville has been involved in the ZAB since it began and that they have always had active representation on the Board.  Mrs. Young stated that she wanted a solid explanation as to why the Village was left off of the member list. 

Mr. Thisse addressed the ZAB.  He stated that he felt that each delegate appointed to the ZAB should be a representative for multiple areas.  He also stated that he felt terms should be staggered and that the ZAB should not be micromanaged by the Board of Legislators. 

The question was raised about the number of members and why it was thirteen. Mr. Schneider stated that the County Manager recommended a thirteen member Board.   Mr. Schneider stated that the reduction of the number to thirteen members had been discussed earlier this fall and at that time the ZAB members were fine with it.  The Executive Committee met and reduced the Board to thirteen and submitted their recommendations to the Board of Legislators.  Mr. Cole stated that State Law requires six members on the ZAB be representatives from certain areas of business and the community, however, the State does not put a cap on the number of members on the ZAB.  Mr. Cole stated to the ZAB that the Board really only has two simple functions, certifying and decertifying businesses, he asked the Board to overcome this hurdle and move on.

Mr. Thisse asked the ZAB members who they felt should be represented on the ZAB that were not currently on the new list of members.  The list of members was read aloud to the ZAB: Jerry King and John Boyd - legislators, John Sorbello – Chairman, Doreen Garrett – Local Business, Arleigh Rice – Work Force Investment Board, Cheryl Shenkle-O’Neill – Community Organizations, Steve Allen – financial institutions, Marion Opela – educational institutions, Fred Schneider – New Bremen, Virgil Taylor – Watson, Terry Thisse – Martinsburg, Haskell Yancey – Croghan, Elizabeth Woods – Tug Hill towns, Gary Williams – Harrisville.

Mr. Rounds stated that Mrs. Garrett represents business and Lyons Falls but due to the business possibilities in Lyonsdale he would like to see representation on the ZAB from the Town of Lyonsdale.  Mr. Gagnier stated that he felt the Village of Lowville and the Village of Croghan should also have representation.

Mr. Thisse stated that if Mr. Schneider still wants to be removed from the ZAB, then in essence adding these three members would only increase the ZAB by two.  Mr. Thisse nominated to the Board Eric Virkler from the Village of Lowville, Glenn Gagnier from the Village of Croghan, and Robert Teal from the Town of Lyonsdale.  Mr. Gagnier spoke on behalf of Mr. Schneider and stated that he felt Mr. Schneider should remain on the ZAB.  Mr. Schneider accepted.  Mr. Williamson seconded the nominations to the ZAB to add Mr. Virkler, Mr. Gagnier, and Mr. Teal, and not remove Mr. Schneider.  The ZAB voted unanimously to accept the nominations.

Mr. Thisse also made a motion to set two-year staggered terms for the new Board members.  He suggested that the members be listed alphabetically and every other member be appointed for a one-year term and the others be appointed for a two-year term.  When the one-year terms expire the members should be re-appointed for a two-year term.  Mr. Yancey seconded the motion.  The ZAB voted unanimously in favor of staggered terms.

Mr. Schneider thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

4.   Adjournment:    The meeting adjourned at 9:20 AM.

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