Thursday, January 20, 2022

News of the IDA

The Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA) held its organizational meeting yesterday. The IDA is made up of seven members, all but one of whom, according to the agency's charter, serve ex officio. The six ex officio members are: the mayor, the majority and minority leaders of the Common Council, the city treasurer, the city assessor, and the chair of the Planning Board. The seventh member is a community representative.

With the new year, the IDA has some new members. Dominic Merante, Common Council majority leader, and Ryan Wallace, Common Council minority leader, have replaced Tiffany Garriga and Rebecca Wolff, and Theresa Joyner, the new chair of the Planning Board, has replaced John Cody, who previously represented the Planning Board. It is not entirely clear if Joyner intends to serve on the IDA herself or to appoint a proxy, as Betsy Gramkow did when she chaired the Planning Board. At yesterday's meeting, Planning Board member Larry Bowne was substituting for Joyner, but it is not known if that is a temporary or permanent arrangement. 

The major business of yesterday's meeting was appointing officers: chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer. Mayor Kamal Johnson nominated himself to be chair of the IDA, and Merante nominated Ryan Wallace. In the vote that followed, with only five members present and voting, Johnson voted for himself, and city treasurer Heather Campbell also voted for him. Merante and Richard Wallace, the community member of the IDA, voted for Ryan Wallace, and Wallace voted for himself, making him the chair of the IDA in a vote of 3 to 2. Ryan Wallace then nominated Johnson for vice chair, and since there were no other nominations, Johnson was appointed vice chair. For the office of secretary, Johnson nominated Theresa Joyner, who was not present, and Ryan Wallace nominated Richard Wallace. When Campbell voted for Richard Wallace, Johnson withdrew his nomination of Joyner, and Richard Wallace was appointed secretary.

The appointment of Richard Wallace as secretary of the IDA creates an interesting situation. Wallace's term on the IDA expires at the end of the month. When Wallace was appointed to the IDA at the beginning of 2020, the IDA had for two years been seeking a community member to serve on the IDA and fill the seat meant for a representative from the Hudson City School District, which declined to send anyone. Wallace was the only member of the public to express any interest in serving on the IDA. Now, although Gossips has heard Wallace wishes to be reappointed, it is rumored that there are a few former alders who are also vying for that seat. "Selection of a community representative for the IDA" is included on the agenda for the special Common Council meeting scheduled for next Thursday, January 27, at 6:00 p.m., along with the RFP for the Dunn warehouse.

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