Saratoga County

Lawler to chair Saratoga County development group

Waterford town Supervisor Jack Lawler has been elected chairman of the Saratoga County Prosperity Pa

Waterford town Supervisor Jack Lawler has been elected chairman of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, the county’s new economic development corporation.

Lawler has been a prime mover over the last 18 months in the county’s effort that ousted the Saratoga Economic Development Corp. as its marketing organization and led to the writing of a new economic development strategic plan.

The veteran Republican town supervisor is also chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development Committee and chairs the county Water Authority.

The appointment made Wednesday runs through the end of the year. It makes practical sense, Lawler said at the Prosperity Partnership’s initial meeting in Ballston Spa.

“To get us up and running, I think this is the most efficient way to do it,” he said.

The chairman is unpaid. The organization will be legally independent of county government, and a majority of the board is to be non-supervisors.

The board, which currently has 10 members, including three supervisors, also selected Clifton Park Supervisor Anita M. Daly as vice-chairman and Wilton Supervisor Art Johnson as treasurer. Brendan Chudy, deputy legal counsel at GlobalFoundries, was selected board secretary.

The board has yet to hire any staff, but made plans Wednesday to ask the county for $446,000 available in the county budget for economic development.

“I think that gives us ample funds to engage resources to hire staff, to get equipment and office space,” Lawler said.

The Prosperity Partnership was created by the Board of Supervisors in May, more than a year after the county’s split with SEDC over control of an SEDC board seat.

SEDC’s contract ended Dec. 31, 2013.

An economic development strategic plan approved by supervisors in March called for establishing the new corporation, with a full-time staff.

The plan calls for the county to concentrate its economic development efforts on business and industry (particularly advanced manufacturing and research and development), tourism promotion and supporting agriculture.

Lawler said the board will be expanded to 15 members. He expects two more supervisors and a business person will be added and is seeking interest from tourism and health care officials.

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