This week, the Adirondack Park Agency commission is scheduled to take its first big plunge into the truly, final last deliberations that will shape a vote on the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.
On Friday, the entire Agency board and the executive team staff from the APA will tour the site, under the supervision of administrative law judge Daniel O’Connell.
The wrinkle, of course, is that the board sets off on this journey without a chairperson.
Curt Stiles stepped aside over the summer and so far, Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t picked a replacement — either an interim or a permanent chair.
(Press attention has fallen on commissioner Lani Ulrich as a possible new leader for the agency, but the governor’s office has stayed mum.)
The process continues to rumble forward, but it’s hard to imagine the board navigating this decision — this is one of the biggest, most controversial decisions in the history of the APA — without stable leadership.
In past interviews, all sides of this debate have told me that they think it would be very disruptive to have a leadership change, or new appointment, made in the middle of active deliberations, which will continue from this week into the winter.
I have a call in to the governor’s office to see if there are any new developments, and it may be that some kind of announcement will come ahead of the APA meeting.
I will also say that sources at the Agency have told me that they think the executive staff and long-time commission members are handling this uncertainty well.
But this is a process that will face intense public scrutiny, and likely a legal challenge as well.
In the past decade, APA chairmen like Dick LeFebvre, Ross Whaley and Curt Stiles really shaped big decisions like this, and served a key role in handling public perception, as well as communications with Albany.
So…this is uncharted territory. Look for updates as the week goes along.