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January 11, 2013

APA hires Jim Townsend as lead counsel

RAY BROOK — The new chief counsel for the Adirondack Park Agency is a familiar face.

Former APA commissioner James P. Townsend has been hired to replace John Banta, who retired in April 2012 after three decades with the agency.

The position is salaried; Banta earned $105,694 in 2008, according to the New York State Public Payroll 2008 Times Union database.

The incoming counsel’s salary was not announced in a statement issued by APA, which operates with a $5.7 million annual budget, reduced by $105,000 for this fiscal year because of union concessions made with the onset of the current contract.

A Rochester attorney, Townsend previously served 11 years on the APA’s Board of Commissioners.

He was appointed to the post by Gov. George Pataki in June of 1999 and held the seat until May of 2010.

In that time, Townsend chaired several APA committees: Legal Affairs, Regulatory Programs and State Land, and he also worked on high-profile issues as part of the administrative, enforcement, and Local Government Services committees.

The hire was recommended by APA Executive Director Terry Martino and approved by the Board of Commissioners.

‘THE RIGHT PERSON’

Townsend will begin working at APA on Jan. 29.

He is currently a partner with the Rochester law firm Remington, Gifford, Williams & Colicchio LLP.

“APA staff eagerly looks forward to Mr. Townsend assuming the helm as agency counsel,” Martino said in the statement issued as APA met on Thursday.

“As we enter the 40th anniversary of the APA, we are poised to undertake a meaningful review of our regulatory programs to ensure we effectively address our statutory mandate. Mr. Townsend is the right person to guide us forward.”

APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich said in the news release that the APA was delighted to welcome Townsend back.

“For more than a decade, Mr. Townsend worked tirelessly on complicated Park issues and has a proven track record of accomplishments on behalf of the Adirondacks,” she said. “His unique skill set will be a tremendous asset for the Agency.”

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