WHEATFIELD – Henry M. Sloma, who returned to the board of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency in January after a year off, was elected chairman at Monday’s annual reorganization meeting.
Sloma, the longtime Lewiston business leader who also serves on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority board of commissioners and the board of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., was an unopposed nominee.
Sloma joined the IDA board in August 2005 and served until January 2013, most of that time as chairman. He resigned because he thought a consulting business he had started might produce a conflict of interest with potential clients who might have sought IDA aid, but it didn’t work that way. The County Legislature named him to a vacant IDA seat in January.
“I would like to thank everybody for their confidence in me. Hopefully, my years of experience here will be helpful going forward,” Sloma said.
Sloma named Stephen F. Brady of National Grid as first vice chairman; Mark A. Onesi, director of admissions and student services at the University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, as second vice chairman; Deanna A. Brennen, president of the Niagara USA Chamber, as IDA secretary; Kevin McCabe, owner of American Concrete, as assistant secretary; and county Economic Development Director Samuel M. Ferraro as treasurer.
Sloma also said the board should send a letter of thanks to former Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker, who was acting chairman for most of 2013. He resigned his IDA seat when he resigned as mayor Feb. 21.
Jerald I. Wolfgang of Youngstown, director of the Western New York Education Center for Economic Development, was supposed to be sworn in for a board seat Monday, but he did not attend. Wolfgang, who was appointed by the Legislature on March 4, was on a pre-planned vacation, IDA counsel Mark J. Gabriele said.
Also Monday, the board shrugged off some negative anonymous comments by one of its members. Each year, the members are invited to fill out questionnaires about the performance of the board and the agency. Under terms of the state Public Authorities Accountability Act, the forms are unsigned.
One of the five 2013 members checked “disagree” for two points: whether the board meets to review all documents prior to their public release and is confident that the information is accurate and complete; and whether individual IDA members feel empowered to delay actions if they feel more discussion is needed.
Gabriele said it would violate the Open Meetings Law for the board to meet before documents are released, so he found the question “problematic.” As for the right to delay, Gabriele said no one can do anything alone because any motion requires a second.
Brady said, “I don’t see any shrinking violets on this board.”
The board authorized a five-year lease with a three-year renewal option on 10,000 square feet of space in its multitenant facility for Marktech Services, a Canadian printer that intends to produce tamper-proof prescription pads for doctors. The company will pay an average of $4.75 per square foot each year for the five years, said Susan C. Langdon, IDA director of project development. Marktech will take the space that had been optioned by Urban Inspirations, an Internet retailer that backed out of a deal the IDA approved last month.