The Hudson River-Black River Regulating District has hired New York State Canal Corp. Deputy Director John Callaghan to be its new executive director.
Regulating District Chairman Mark Finkle said the board chose to hire Callaghan at its meeting Tuesday.
“Great experience, and he knows all of the players in Albany, which is great for us. He was approved in record time from Albany. The state has to approve our appointments,” Finkle said.
Callaghan, a former tug boat captain with the U.S. Coast Guard, replaces interim director longtime regulating district area coordinator John Hodgson.
The HRBRRD board appointed Hodgson in May of 2018 to oversee the operations of the regulating authority, which operates a system of six dams, two on the Sacandaga River and four on the Black River. The dams were created to control flooding in the Hudson River and Black River watersheds and created the Great Sacandaga Lake, a reservoir. HRBRRD regulates the lake and access to its shoreline.
Hodgson was appointed to fill-in after HRBRRD’s last full-time executive director, Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-Johnstown, was terminated, without prejudice, during his campaign for New York state assembly in 2018.
Smullen had come under fire from political adversaries who criticized his continued employment by a state agency while running for office. Finkle said HRBRRD interviewed a “couple of dozen” candidates for the executive director role before deciding on Callaghan. He said one factor in Callaghan’s hire was that he had worked for a long time both in the U.S. Coast Guard and at the canal corporation.
“This guy doesn’t move around a lot. He isn’t going to be here for two years and then leave,” Finkle said.