Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

- Subsribe at
March 2nd, 2012

Understanding the Misunderstood IDA

The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is one of the most misunderstood organizations servicing Sullivan County in part because people find it very hard to understand.

Allegations of impropriety are constantly hovering over the IDA. Innuendos that board members and their attorney partake in sinister questionable business practices are erroneous and pure nonsense. Every business deal has its critics and its supporters. Attempts to falsely taint these people must cease.

I have done extensive research regarding the IDA, and hope to share some of my findings during the next several weeks to explain their function, the role they play towards economic development, and the funding corporation they created.

IDAs are public beneļ¬t corporations authorized by the Industrial Development Agency Act of 1969 and governed by the provisions of Article 18-A of the General Municipal Law. Sullivan County has several non active IDAs.

The purpose of an IDA is to promote, develop, encourage and assist in acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining or equipping certain facilities, thereby advancing the job opportunities, health, general prosperity and the economic welfare of the people.

IDAs have enormous power in granting tax abatements and bonding. While mission statements and laws adhered to by IDAs have not changed, interpretation has.

Several IDAs have been involved in unscrupulous practices leading to increased scrutiny.

Although our active IDA is comprised of reputable people, some have been serving on it for over 15 years, some are elected supervisors, and some have retired from Sullivan County. Waiting for recently created terms to expire might be too long especially for a new legislature that says it wants to make a lot of change.

Several legislators feel that elected officials and those who no longer have a primary residence in Sullivan County should not be on these boards. There is also debate as to whether a seat is set aside for union representation.

Some argue that IDA attorney Walter Garigliano is a wheeler and dealer and should be replaced because he has been there for so many years, has enormous power, and has made a lot of money.

In reality, Garigliano is considered a brilliant attorney when it comes to transactional law and I am certain he would like to stay there not because of the income or power it generates, but because of a passion to increase our employment opportunities.

Board members of the IDA and the funding corporation are voluntary and are the same. The Legislature appoints members to the IDA, while the County Manager appoints members to the funding corporation because it is a Local Development Corporation (LDC).

The legislature cannot legally appoint members to the LDC because they are elected. In all practicality the legislature is still in control. The county manager works and reports to the legislature, so one would assume he would abide by their wishes.

Contrary to the belief of many, IDA board members have willingly been disclosing their personal financial interests in filings for years. This is something many boards resist. For example, the new Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is on the verge of dissolving in part because of disclosure requirements.

Perhaps the IDA board has become stale and it needs an infusion of new blood, but perhaps it does not.

IDA board members should meet with the legislature to discuss why they want to remain on these significant and influential boards. Everyone must be on the same page and work together. Board members must also follow the desires of the legislature.

Next week the difference between the IDA and the Funding Corporation and why it was created.

Comments are closed.