In the News  Archive

APA chair to leave at term's end in June

Press-Republican
May 16, 2016

RAY BROOK — Adirondack Park Agency Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich will leave the agency when her appointed term ends in June.

With 12 years served on the board — the past five years as chairwoman — she made the announcement as the May monthly meeting closed with comments from APA commissioners.

“I need to catch you up on some news as well,” she said.

“We serve as chairs of this agency at the pleasure of the governor. By some chance, I have been honored to serve four different governors over a 12-year period of time and five (years) as chair,” Ulrich said.

'MY PRIVILEGE'
Crediting the observations of former APA Chairman Richard Levebvre, she said they also serve at the pleasure of spouses and families.

Ulrich said she and husband, James Ulrich, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary early in May, soon after his 79th birthday.

“My term as chair comes to an end in June, and so too will my service to this board. It has been a great, great honor. It’s been my pleasure, my privilege to serve with all who sat in these seats and especially this group,” she said, speaking further about the bonds shared by planners and members of the APA board.

“You’re stuck with me through June. But that will be my last meeting, as it is time — and very overdue time — that I assume my duties as Jim’s driver,” Ulrich said.

Staff, commissioners and public guests at the meeting offered Ulrich a standing ovation.

Her comments closed the session.

GRASSROOTS COALITION
Ulrich was first appointed to the APA board in November 2004. In the years since, she has served as chairwoman for the Regulatory Programs and Park Ecology committees.

In 2006, she founded the Common Ground Alliance, a grassroots coalition of municipal, environmental, civic and business leaders, whose efforts look deeply at issues facing decision-makers in the Adirondack Park.

She holds one of the five in-park seats on the 11-member APA Board of Commissioners.

The chairperson has historically been appointed as one of the in-park members.

MANY VACANCIES
The Adirondack Council recently opined on ongoing work at APA, charged as the agency is with land-use planning for both economic growth and environmental preservation.

The position piece by the council’s Director of Government Relations Kevin Chlad noted that, at the end of June, five of 11 APA seats will be vacant or retained by commissioners in expired terms.

In addition to Ulrich, Commissioners Richard Booth, Sherman Craig and Dan Wilt are at or beyond their terms, and one out-of-park seat remains vacant.

“We think that she has done a good job of listening to both sides of any debate that was taking place,” Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan told the Press-Republican on Monday.

While they have not always shared the same focal points as Ulrich, he said, “we think she treated all sides with respect."

It is an unusual legislative session, he said, looking toward pending APA appointments come June.

“So we’ll see what happens.”

'VERY TELLING'
Chlad observed the number of APA vacancies in his opinion piece.

“Will Governor Andrew Cuomo establish his own legacy as a champion for a strong, independent and nonpartisan APA that makes decisions based on the science and the law?” he wrote.

“Key decisions like the classification of Boreas Ponds and the appointments of APA board members will be very telling.”

No formal statement to the press has been issued by APA. Calls and email requests from the Press-Republican weren't immediately answered.

Click HERE for the opinion by the Adirondack Council.

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