CARS HOMES JOBS

County Water Authority runs minus director

Saturday, March 9, 2013
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The Saratoga County Water Authority is running, seemingly happily, without a full-time executive director, and will continue to do so.

Since late 2011, when former authority head Bill Simcoe retired, the authority has paid Delaware Engineering of Albany to handle the day-to-day management of the authority, rather than hire its own chief executive.

This week, the authority board approved a one-year extension of the contract, under which Delaware will be paid $6,600 a month to provide administrative services.

In practice, the face of the authority is now Ed Hernandez, an engineer with Delaware. He holds the title of acting executive director. Hernandez is the rare professional engineer who also has an M.B.A. — and the authority board is pleased with both his technical performance and his handling of its finances. In his biggest single accomplishment, he’s gotten the level of potentially harmful chlorine disinfection by-products in the water — which spiked when organic material was flushed down the Hudson by Hurricane Irene in the fall of 2011 and remained high for weeks — down to within acceptable limits. The authority draws its water from the Hudson upstream of Glens Falls.

The authority is sticking with the Delaware Engineering arrangement even though last year the state’s Authorities Budget Office took the authority to task for contracting out for the service, rather than hiring someone to do the job on-staff. The authority has ignored that advice, along with the ABO’s recommendation that the Clifton Park, Wilton and county water authorities be consolidated into one super-water authority. None of the three wanted to pursue it, even though the state agency made the argument that having three water authorities in one county makes for duplication of services.

The ABO’s recommendations carry no legal weight.

Hernandez is also the go-to guy for the Saratoga County Sewer District. He was project manager for designing the $52 million expansion of the sewage treatment plant in Halfmoon in 2009-2011. He and Delaware have also developed the initial report released last month on the feasibility of building a second sewage treatment plant in Northumberland, to serve the area from Saratoga Springs north and allow more development in the southern part of the county, where GlobalFoundries’ expansion plans could have the company buying 10 million gallons of water a day from the county water authority, and discharging just as much into the sewer system.

NEW SEDC HIRE

In Saratoga Springs, Tori Riley of Fort Ann has been hired as the new director of membership services and an economic development specialist at the Saratoga Economic Development Corp.

Riley will replace Linda Jones, who retired in January.

Until recently, Riley was president of the Washington County Local Development Corporation. She has also worked at the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce. She and her husband own a farm and contracting business in Fort Ann.

Riley will work primarily on retention and expansion of existing businesses, but her farming background is a major asset, said SEDC President Dennis Brobston.

“We are very excited about her background in agribusiness and her ability to enhance the agricultural businesses and opportunities for farms throughout Saratoga County,” Brobston said.

SEDC is a private nonprofit organization, but it works closely with county and local governments on efforts to support businesses and create new jobs. Over the years it’s been a key player in attracting GlobalFoundries, the Target and Ace Hardware distribution centers, Quad/Graphics, and a host of smaller businesses to Saratoga County.

NEW FARLEY OFFICE

Veteran state Senator Hugh T. Farley has established a new district office in Ballston Spa, and closed the office he used to have in Amsterdam.

The Niskayuna Republican, who has represented Montgomery County since being elected to the Senate in the 1970s, lost it in the 2012 Senate redistricting. He “gained” — his wording — the Saratoga County towns of Milton, Malta and Clifton Park. He also picked up Hamilton County, so his district stretches from the places as remote at the West Canada Lakes Wilderness to the Spa County’s new high-tech hot-spots and the Exit 9 shopping centers.

Farley’s new district office will be at 199 Milton Ave., a converted historic mansion in the middle of Ballston Spa. It was once the home of Jesse L’Amoreaux, a prominent 19th century attorney, and for many years in the 20th century was the village’s Masonic Lodge, before being converted into modern offices a few years ago.

Farley also maintains a district office in Johnstown.

 
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