Saratoga County

Joseph Dalton to retire from chamber post

The longtime head of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce announced he will retire in June aft


The longtime head of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce announced he will retire in June after 40 years on the job.

Joseph Dalton Jr. said in a statement he plans to leave the chamber on June 1.

Dalton has witnessed huge growth in Saratoga County during those four decades with the chamber, and has been a well-known spokesman for county business and community interests.

Dalton could not be reached for comment Thursday after releasing the statement.

Recently, he took a public stand against downtown paid parking in Saratoga Springs, saying downtown businesses would suffer from such a proposal.

Opposing the formation of Saratoga Gaming and Raceway in 2002 was another effort to which Dalton devoted himself.

The Rev. Jay Ekman said he and Dalton made an unlikely pair when they joined forces to oppose the conversion of the harness track into a racino.

Ekman, the outspoken liberal minister at the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church, opposed the racino on moral grounds because of the projected increase in destructive gambling among residents.

The buttoned-down Dalton was the public face of the effort.

He spoke out about the probable increase in problem gambling, more traffic and crime and that the racino would not create enough good-paying jobs to make up for the burdens to the city.

He was one of several officials who filed a lawsuit about the issue.

“People are always looking for quick fixes. I think Joe has always been a much more matured visionary of what was good for Saratoga,” Ekman said.

This year, the state pulled back aid from VLT revenue that had been given to the city and the county.

“Given what’s happened with the racino, the stand that we took was prescient that this was not a good thing,” Ekman said.

Ekman said the chamber under Dalton’s leadership is more than simply a pro-business organization. With churches and other organizations as members, the chamber really represents the interests of the community as a whole, Ekman said.

Dalton has known personal tragedy during his time at the chamber.

His son Joseph Dalton III, a mountain biker, was killed in a biking accident in 2005 in western New York.

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