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January 11, 2012

Senate moves APA commissioner confirmation forward

RAY BROOK — The Senate Environmental Conservation Committee on Tuesday approved Sherman Craig's position on the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners.

Craig has been seated — with a vote — for two months via a clause in state Public Officers Law.

Clearing this hurdle, the pending appointment faces two more.

A formal decision still has to come from the Senate Finance Committee and then gain approval in the full Senate.

The Finance Committee will likely consider the appointment on Jan. 18, according to Sen. Betty Little's spokesman Dan Mac Entee.

RECESS APPOINTMENT

A rustic woodcraftsman and retired teacher from Wanakena, Craig was appointed Nov. 9, 2010, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, filling the vacancy left when Curt Stiles, former APA chairman, retired after his term expired.

Past Regulatory Programs Committee Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich was moved to chair the APA at the same time.

Craig's appointment came with Senate clearance before the 2012 legislative session got under way.

The provision used is part of Public Officers Law, Section 39, called, generally, a recess appointment. Section 39 says a vacancy "while the Senate is not in session shall be filled by the governor for a term which shall expire upon the qualification of a successor."

The law also says "in any event such term shall expire at the end of 20 days from the commencement of the next meeting of the senate."

The Senate reconvened Jan. 4.

JANUARY VOTE

At the Adirondack Council, spokesman John Sheehan said a similar federal law allows the U.S. president to make an appointment when the U.S. Senate is not in session.

"It is the same mechanism used by the state in this case. I had never seen it used here before, not with any appointment related to the Park Agency."

The governor had to reach an agreement with Senate leaders to activate the mechanism.

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