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WHEATFIELD – Henry M. Sloma, who has been chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for more than seven years, resigned today.

Sloma said he has a business opportunity which might create a conflict of interest with his IDA service if he pursued it, so he handed County Legislature Chairman William L. Ross a letter of resignation when Ross arrived to observe today’s IDA board meeting.

The resignation is effective Friday. Ross said he had no advance knowledge of it. “I got my January surprise,” he said.

Sloma was appointed to the IDA board by the County Legislature in April 2005, and became chairman Aug. 11, 2005.

“I’m going to look into other things,” Sloma told reporters. “Some of them are commercial in nature and could create a conflict of interest.”

Sloma operates a business consulting company and said he’s been contacted by a firm which might be applying to the IDA for assistance.

“I’ve been working for the community for 40 years,” said Sloma, who has been a Lewiston town councilman and administrator of Mount View Health Facility, Niagara County’s now-closed nursing home.

He also serves on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Board of Commissioners, a post he said he will keep because his business dealings do not create a conflict with that service. He also was part of the Berger Commission, the statewide panel on the future of health care facilities in New York.

“I think I’ve given my fair share,” said Sloma, 69. “I had a birthday the other day and I had to decide what to do with the rest of my life.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com