To the Editor:
I was in attendance during the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Finance Committee meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 27, when the committee failed to re-appoint Mr. Brian Staples to the county’s Industrial Development Agency. The votes were, not surprisingly, narrowly along party lines. I applaud Legislator Morrill for his fortitude to vote to re-appoint the 30-year veteran of the IDA and not to be manipulated by political partisanship. Mr. Staples is a certified public accountant and operates a business in St. Lawrence County.
One has only to scan through the county IDA’s website (http:///www.slcida.com) to get an idea of the progress that the IDA has made in promoting and supporting businesses that are helping to keep our county financially solvent -- Slic Network Solutions, Kinney Drugs, Curran Renewable Energy. Without the IDA’s assistance, these employers may not have developed to where they presently are, or they may have had to cut back on employment. Fortunately, they are in better fiscal shape, in no small part to the work of our IDA. When an organization is productive and meeting its goals, you don’t throw out the leader. Mr. Staples has been leading the IDA in achieving these successes, so his skill in that capacity can’t be in question. The value that Mr. Staples has brought to the IDA from his financial expertise would only have been even more valuable in the near future given the tasks that are before this agency -- managing a $16 million allotment from NYPA and $1.2 million resulting form the dissolution of the county economic development board.
Such political partisanship as was demonstrated at the Finance Committee meeting does not only harm the IDA, it hurts all of us in St. Lawrence County. The resulting organizational changes will require time and effort to sort out. Those resources would be better spent continuing the good economic work that the IDA has been producing. Putting political affiliation above sound business decisions is just plain wrong and cannot be tolerated. Beyond being morally unjust, it negatively impacts our ability to increase business in St. Lawrence County at a time when I say that we need it most.
How can the Board of Legislators justify that they are doing all that they can to improve economic conditions in our county when they make such decisions? Remind them this Nov.2.
Candidate, St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators