The president of Clarkson University and the chief of the North Country Chamber of Commerce will serve as the co-chairs of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's regional economic development council.
Tony Collins has been active in economic development in his tenure at Clarkson, and his appointment comes as very little surprise. Sources yesterday were murmuring about the move.
The appointment of Garry Douglas, the president and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, doesn't come as a surprise, either. The chamber is based in Plattsburgh, and is separate from Watertown's chamber. Mr. Douglas and the Plattsburgh chamber have been much more politically active than the Watertown counterpart.
Mr. Douglas is a member of the Committee to Save New York, an independent armada of business interests that spent $7.4 million to support Mr. Cuomo, the Albany Times-Union has reported. Mr. Douglas donated $500 to Mr. Cuomo's bid for governor in 2009; Cuomo aides have been quick to point out that not all of the appointees to these councils have been donors, and in addition, donors happen to be the types to be more engaged in public service. So there's that.
He will now take part in the governor's economic development council initiative. The councils will compete over $1 billion in state grants.
More news coming out of Canton, as well, with the possibility that SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton will merge. That was revealed the day that Mr. Cuomo came to Potsdam.
Some names that aren't on here (could call them snubs): No Jason Clark, the polarizing figure at the Massena business council who frequently clashes with the village mayor over the proposed rooftop highway. No Ron McDougal, the union figure/Democratic Party activist/Dede Scozzafava husband.
Things that come as less of a surprise: Jim Wright, the executive director of the Development Authority of the North Country, has come out on top of the rivalry with Don Alexander, head of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. Mr. Wright is the former Republican state senator from the 48th Senate District; Mr. Alexander is a Democrat, but has donated to Republican causes, as well. Mark Tryniski, the head of Community Bank, is down in Syracuse. How he got on the north country council, I do not know (the bank does have branches up here). A few farm people. Alcoa is represented, of course. Fort Drum.
And the mayor of Watertown, Jeff Graham, will serve on the board. I asked him a day or two ago and he said he hasn't been approached. The reason I asked was because in Watertown, the mayor is less of a day-to-day manager than in other places and more of a figurehead (albeit not 100 percent). The city manager is really running the show. But Mr. Graham was appointed to the board nonetheless.
Here's the full list of names:
John Martin, Operations Director, Alcoa Inc.
Donna Wadsworth, Communications Director, International Paper Company - Ticonderoga Mill (the International Paper Political Action Committee donated $1,000 to Mr. Cuomo's election effort in 2010. Again, please see the caveat about donations.)
Jon Greenwood, Dairy Farmer/Former VP of NYS Farm Bureau
Richard Wilt, Vice President, Wilt Industries, Inc.
Lisa Weber, CEO, Timeless Frames and Timeless Decor
John R. Donoghue, President, Plattsburgh-Saranac Lake Building and Construction Trades Council
Dr. John Ettling, President, SUNY Plattsburgh
Cali Brooks, Executive Director, Adirondack Community Trust (ACT)
Mark E. Tryniski, President & CEO, Community Bank
Ron Davis, Plant Manager, Agri-Mark/McCadam Cheese Company
Carl A. McLaughlin, Executive Director, Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization
Terry Gach, Vice President Institutional Advancement, Trudeau Institute
James W. Wright, Executive Director, Development Authority of the North Country
Kate Fish, Executive Director, Adirondack North Country Association
Anne L. Merrill, Executive Director, Lewis County Chamber of Commerce
William P. Murray, Executive Director, Council for International Trade, Technology, Education and Communication
James McKenna, President & CEO, Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau/Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
Adoré Flynn Kurtz, President & CEO, The Development Corporation of Clinton County
Chairman of Jefferson County Legislature
Chairman of Clinton County Legislature
Chairman of St. Lawrence County Legislature
Chairman of Franklin County Legislature
Chairman of Essex Board of Supervisors
Chairman of Hamilton Board of Supervisors
Chairman of Lewis Board of Supervisors
Mayor of the City of Watertown
Mayor of the City of Plattsburgh
Town Supervisor of Potsdam