HELP WANTED: Commissioner for the Adirondack Park Agency
* Lived in the Adirondacks full-time for many years, natives preferred.
* Experience working in government and/or business.
* Team player, willing to be pragmatic on complex bureaucratic matters.
* Ability to weigh issues fairly and make decisions based on what's best for the Adirondacks in its entirety.
* Demonstrated understanding of the difficulties of living and making a living in a hostile economic and physical environment.
* Not too pro-environment.
* Not too pro-development.
* Not too extreme on any issue.
Five positions available. Send applications to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, New York State Capitol Building, Albany NY 12224.
This is a wish list of qualifications for five open seats on the 11-member Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is charged with making the appointments, subject to state Senate confirmation, and with that authority he has significant power to influence the direction of the APA and its role in the Adirondacks for years to come.
But before he starts flipping through resumes, the governor should flip through newspaper articles, editorials, letters to the editor, and transcripts from public forums in the Adirondacks to get a sense of how the agency operates and how it's perceived by the people it's supposed to serve.
For Adirondackers, the litany of issues they have with the Adirondack Park Agency is as familiar and irritating as the neighbor's dog that won't stop barking.
But Gov. Cuomo is new to the job, and the only barking he has been hearing lately is from budget protesters. This is new territory for him, and he should become intimately familiar with what's been going on up here before he makes these five very important decisions.
In a nutshell, the APA has a well-earned reputation for being overreaching, inflexible, unresponsive to citizens, and in some cases abusive. We've done articles on some of the more egregious cases. Environmentalists have been allowed to dominate the APA board, contributing to the park's hostile economic environment for residents trying to make a living.
What's needed isn't really a balance of pro-environment and pro-development members, but a willingness by all members of the APA board to see how conservation and economic growth have to go hand in hand in order for people to be able to live and thrive in the park.
The governor also has to be cognizant of the APA's historically strained relationship with its citizens. Many people find the agency's regulations overreaching and its enforcement of them in many cases extreme or inconsistent.
The governor needs to find commissioners who understand the value of local control and who are willing to concede power over appeals to the people who are most familiar with the territory.
Finally, Gov. Cuomo should lend an attentive ear to the park's most prominent state lawmakers, Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, both of whom are intimately familiar with the issues in the park and who have long fought for the protection of the environment and the protection of people in the Adirondacks. For years, they have been the eyes and ears of the Adirondacks, meeting regularly with local government officials and citizens about their issues.
When they talk, the governor should listen.
Given the citizens' general dissatisfaction with the APA, its decision-making and its enforcement of its own regulations, it's clear the agency membership hasn't accurately reflected the will of the people.
Let's hope Gov. Cuomo's appointments to the Adirondack Park Agency board demonstrate his willingness to correct that situation.
Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney and citizen member Tom Sullivan.