QUEENSBURY — Warren County supervisors want to meet with the committee that approved low-interest business loans from the Lake Champlain Lake George Regional Planning Board, but so far the committee has not accepted the invitation.
The county Board of Supervisors has tentatively scheduled the meeting for May 31 and sent a letter to the Regional Planning Board’s administration last week about the proposed sit-down session.
As of Wednesday, though, there had not been a response to the request. County Administrator Ryan Moore said his office planned to send out a follow-up letter this week and will make phone calls to the six loan committee members to make sure they are aware of the invitation.
“All of the members will be getting a letter and they will be getting a call,” Glens Falls 2nd Ward Supervisor Peter McDevitt said.
One of the loan committee’s longtime members, former Lake George Supervisor Louis Tessier, said Wednesday that he had not been made aware of any plans for a meeting, but he would attend if invited. He said the committee has nothing to hide and complaints about its loans and practices are “way off the wall.”
A member of the Warren-Washington Counties Industrial Development Agency, he said he has referred business owners to the loan fund when they approach the IDA.
“I think it’s a good program,” the 89-year-old Tessier said. “It helps the little guy who can’t get funding started.”
The organization of the meeting came as two supervisors called Tuesday for the Regional Planning Board’s executive director, Walter Young, be suspended or removed as the loan issues are investigated.
Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty, who has been a vocal critic in the Regional Planning Board controversy, said he reviewed documents from Regional Planning Board loans in recent days and found the committee violated its own policies and its practices were “very, very disturbing.” He reiterated a request that the organization remove Young.
“Public money is being thrown around with no checks and balances,” he said.
Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer said she agreed with Beaty that action should be taken regarding Young’s leadership of the agency.
“I think he has been blocking our information and maybe even hiding information from us,” she said.
Braymer pointed out that when Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Michael Wild asked Young at a meeting earlier this month why he should be allowed to stay on, Young did not answer.
Tessier, though, defended Young and said he believes the questions will be answered and concerns allayed.
“He runs a tight ship and knows what’s going on,” Tessier said.
Young did not return a phone call for comment Wednesday.
The Regional Planning Board and its loan committee have been under fire in recent months after loans to a committee member’s relative and a county supervisor, as well as a seeming lack of organization, were uncovered. The loan committee is supposed to have 10 members, but has only had six for years.
The state Comptroller’s Office is auditing the Regional Planning Board’s books, and the state Authorities Budget Office has directed the organization to register with it.
Bolton Supervisor Ronald Conover, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said county leaders will continue to push until it gets answers.
“I think it has been healthy and I think it will end in a good place,” he said.