Hugh Reynolds: Golden Hill LDC moves forward

And now there are six. One to go.

Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo last week named Dr. Michelle Sucich of Modena, a specialist in geriatric medicine, and Michael Bernholz, a Shokan real-estate appraiser, as directors of the local development corporation which will be charged with marketing and selling the Golden Hill infirmary. The nominees were screened and unanimously recommended by the legislature’s Ways and Means Committee.

County Executive Mike Hein has selected as his nominees former deputy executive Marshall Beckman, Deputy Executive Bob Sudlow and Budget Officer J.J. Hanson. Minority Leader Dave Donaldson named Legislator Jeanette Provenzano.

Those six will name a seventh member from a pool of nominees: Greg Helsmoortel, Michael Steckman and Regina Fitzpatrick (from Hein), Leslie Kalmus and Matthew Hall (from Bernardo) and Dare Thompson (from Donaldson).


With Hein pressing hard to begin the process of selling the infirmary, the LDC will select staff to carry out its duties. Unless, of course, these busy volunteers choose to take upon themselves the time-consuming and exacting duties of recruiting and screening would-be developers of the Golden Hill site, and on a fast track.

Hein balanced the 2012 budget on the assumption that the LDC would provide at least $8 million in revenue from the sale of bonds collateralized by the Golden Hill facility this year. Should this process drag on, some very red faces could be splattered with very red ink.

Given its behind-the-scenes history, the project may already be well under way, with developers eager to offer their wares. We shall see.

As for staffing, any $20 million operation — which is what optimists hope Golden Hill will fetch — needs at least an executive director, executive secretary, finance officer and perhaps a public relations person to run things. These wheels, too, may already be in motion.

Odd man out

With the speculation over whether Hein will or won’t run for Congress, a  high-profile possibility with an office only a floor below the executive suite in the county office building has been all but ignored. I refer to two-term County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, favorite son of Ellenville and a potential prospect for quite a different office.

Democrat Auerbach, former mayor and village manager of his home town, eked out a first-term win over deep-pockets Jim Quigley in the 2008 presidential year and then stomped overmatched Fawn Tantillo for re-election in 2010.

The odd-looking new 101st Assembly District is an abomination even by the state legislature’s gerrymandering standards. Picking up clusters of population here and there while avoiding cows, coyotes and woodchucks, its district lines meander all over the Catskills from Montgomery in Orange County to Shawangunk and Wawarsing in Ulster, back up to Davenport in Delaware, and then due east to take in Catskill and Saugerties. That the three Ulster County towns total some 36,000 residents, almost 30 percent of an Assembly district, could be an advantage to an Ulster candidate. More likely, we’ll get some yahoo in bib overalls from the outback.

Were he to get a good deal on a helicopter, Auerbach says he might give the district a thought. “I’m flattered by the attention [from legislative power brokers],” he told me, “but I have one question. Where’s the district?” It’s a question that must have occurred to more than one potential candidate. Good deal for most incumbents, though.

This just in from the comptroller’s office: The very competent and personable deputy comptroller Laura Walls of Gardiner has resigned after three years on the job for personal and family reasons, Auerbach reports. Walls had the rare quality of keeping her head while others were throwing spitballs. We wish her well.

The job pays just under $70,000 in salary with another $40,000 worth of benefits.

There is one comment

  1. gberke

    Looking forward to a primary contest that will include Joel Tyner. It is this very critical time BEFORE the election that educates the citizenry, reveals policy and shapes it. Fracking is a serious quality of life issue in the valley and nobody better to make sure that issue stays front and center than Tyner.

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