Council Receives A Second Report On JLDC Board Member Selection Powers

The ongoing debate surrounding board member authorization power for the Jamestown Local Development Corporation may have reached a conclusion.

On Monday, a second report was submitted to the Jamestown City Council by Marilyn Fiore-Lehman, city corporation counsel, and Todd Thomas, city clerk and administrative services director, to answer questions brought up by Andrew Liuzzo, At-Large councilman, during a Feb. 12 work session meeting. Liuzzo had for a second time asked about the appointment powers of the JLDC board and if the JLDC can sell the Waste Water Treatment Plant without the council’s involvement.

The second report states the appointment power, according to the 1981 bylaws, to fill a vacancy rest with the JLDC board or alternatively with the sole member of the corporation, which is the city as represented by Mayor Sam Teresi. Also, the report states the JLDC can absolutely not sell the waste water treatment plant without the approval of the council, who holds all legislative authority exclusively.

Teresi said the original 1981 bylaws were ambiguous, but said it has never been the practice by the JLDC board that if the president of a member of the board cannot sit on the board that the member organization has the absolute power to pick their representative.

Teresi said all of this debate is moot anyway because the JLDC’s bylaws were amended last year to clarify ambiguities like board member appointment power.

In December, the JLDC board approved new bylaws, which hadn’t been updated since the creation of the organization in 1981. The bylaw changes included a new provision allowing the city’s mayor, who serves as the JLDC board president, the power of appointment if a member organization’s president can not sit on the board.

Teresi said in December the new bylaw, as far as appointing members, was a practice that had been followed since the JLDC was formed in 1981. He said the prior bylaws had no formal rules on who was to serve on the board if the president of the organization couldn’t be a representative. Members of the JLDC board need to live in the city.

However, Todd Tranum, Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier executive director and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce president, said in December the new bylaws provides more power to the mayor than the organizations on the JLDC board. Tranum, who lives in Bemus Point, cannot represent either MAST or the chamber on the JLDC board because he does not live in the city.

Liuzzo, who first questioned the JLDC bylaw changes and appointment power during the council’s Feb. 5 work session meeting, didn’t respond to the findings of the second report or to any of the comments made by Teresi.