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Meet the APA Commission

New information added in June 26, 2002

at the official monthly APA (Adirondack Park Agency) meeting
at the Copperfield Inn, North Creek, Warren County
August 9, 2001

Stuart Buchanan, Katherine Osborn Roberts, and the vacant seat

Cecil Wray, Frank Mezzano

Barbara Rottier, Daniel Fitts

Richard H. Lefebvre

William H. Kissel

James T. Townsend, Douglas Schelling

Hon. James King, James C. Frenette, Joseph Rota
1. Stuart Buchanan
2. Katherine Osborn Roberts
3. Deanne Rehm
4. Cecil Wray
5. Frank Mezzano
6. Barbara Rottier
7. Daniel Fitts
8. Richard H. Lefebvre
9. William H. Kissel
10. James T. Townsend
11. Douglas Schelling
12. Hon. James King
13. James C. Frenette
14. Joseph Rota
photos by Peter J. LaGrasse


Stuart Buchanan 1. Stuart Buchanan
Voting designee to the APA Commission, representing the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), who is appointed by Gov. Pataki. Mr. Buchanan is director of DEC Region 5, which is headquartered in Ray Brook.
Katherine Osborn Roberts 2. Katherine Osborn Roberts
APA Commissioner. Democrat. One of Gov. Pataki's first three appointments, in 1995. A Putnam County neighbor of Pataki, Ms. Roberts was a teacher at the Spence School, a school principal, and an investment analyst at INA Corp, Philadelphia. At the time of her appointment she was executive director and a member of the board of directors of the Open Space Institute (OSI), which is a wealthy land trust created by the Rockefeller's environmental litigation arm, the Natural Resources Defenses Council, to be a repository of settlements won from "citizen suits." OSI coordinates with DEC to acquire private land for environmental preservation, originally in lower New York, especially the Hudson Valley and surrounding highlands Now, however, OSI is active in acquiring land in the Adirondacks. Ms. Roberts was also a member of the board of directors of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, another non-profit dedicated to acquisition of private land. This land trust became extremely wealthy from the legacy that Laurence Rockefeller procured from the couple who founded Reader's Digest during their final days.


Deanne Rehm
photo:Adirondack Park Agency

3. Vacant Seat
February 2002: Deanne Rehm Appointed to Long-Vacant APA Seat

After over a decade, every one of the eleven Commissioners seats on the Adirondack Park Agency is finally filled, with the confirmation by the State Senate of former Bolton supervisor Deanne Rehm. Appointed by Governor Pataki to one of the "in-park" seats that must be filled by a local resident, Ms. Rehm previously served three terms as the Bolton supervisor, and also for many years as an assessor for towns in the Adirondacks. She is currently assessor for the town where she was born, Lake Luzerne, which is also in Warren County.
In an interview recorded in The Adirondack Journal, Ms. Rehm said that she thought that the southeastern part of the park is not very well represented on the APA, and that she has a particular interest in seeing that northern Warren County, Northern Saratoga County, and Essex County have good representation. She said that she understands the needs of the people not only to live in the park, but to make a living as well. To that end, she was reported to say, "I have indicated an interest in the economic development initiative committee."

Cecil Wray 4. Cecil Wray
APA Commissioner. Appointed in 1999 by Gov. Pataki, Mr. Wray is a Democrat. He lives in Manhattan, where he is "of counsel" with the corporate law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton. He has a weekend home in the exclusive town of Garrison on the lower Hudson, where Pataki lives, as well as a third home in Keene Valley. He is a member of the board of directors of the extremely wealthy Hudson Highlands Land Trust, where APA Commissioner Katherine Roberts also served. When appointed to the APA he resigned from his position at the time on the board of directors of the Adirondack Council, a powerful organization that lobbies for extreme preservation of the Adirondacks. He once served as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark.
Frank Mezzano 5. Frank Mezzano
APA Commissioner-Park resident. Appointed in 1998 by Gov. Pataki. Mr. Mezzano, a Republican, was the supervisor on the Town of Lake Pleasant and a member of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors. He owns Speculator Department Store and is the director of Colonial Health Care Corp. of Nathan Litthauer Hospital and Nursing Home.
Barbara Rottier 6. Barbara Rottier
Acting Counsel to the APA. She was previously Associate Counsel for many years. Ms. Rottier is on the board of directors and treasurer of New York Rivers United, a Rome, N.Y.-based non-profit organization affiliated with large national environmental organization American Rivers, Inc. According to their official IRS statement, the mission of New York Rivers United is the "preservation, protection and enhancement of river resources in New York State."
Daniel Fitts 7. Daniel T. Fitts
Executive Director of the APA. He was appointed by Gov. Pataki as Acting Executive Director in 1995, and became full executive director in January 1996. In September 1999, the Hamilton County News quoted Mr. Fitts: "We feel that for far too long the tables have not been as level as they should and that locals have not had the say they should be allowed. The entire agency agrees this opportunity should be given."
Richard H. Lefebvre 8. Richard H. Lefebvre
Chairman of the APA Commission when this photo was taken on August 9, 2001. Retired in
November 2002. He is a Park resident and a Republican. Gov. Cuomo appointed him in 1993 over the objections of environmentalists and Gov. Pataki made him Chairman in 1998. Retired from the position of speech pathologist at the Gloversville School District, Mr. Lefebvre lives on Canada Lake in the town of Caroga Lake. He represented Gov. Pataki in the first delegation to the Italian Abruzzo Park, which, under Mr. Lefebvre's leadership, the APA "twinned" to the Adirondack Park to promote wolf reintroduction in New York. In August 1999, the Hamilton County News ran an article with the theme that "Lefebvre hopes his legacy at the park agency will be more communication and cooperation." Mr. Lefebvre stated that Gov. Pataki appointed him to "find that sensible balance."
William H. Kissel 9. William H. Kissel
APA Commissioner. A Park resident appointee, Mr. Kissel is a Republican and lives in Lake Placid. He was appointed by Gov. Pataki in 1999. The owner of a law firm in Lake Placid, Mr. Kissel is the author of professional journal articles favorable to APA zoning. A former APA General Counsel, Mr. Kissel was once associate counsel to the Senate Codes Committee. He was counsel to the New York State Olympic Regional Development Committee and the 1980 Olympic Games, Inc.
James T. Townsend 10. James T. Townsend
APA Commissioner. Mr. Townsend is a Republican and resides in Rochester. He is a partner in the Rochester law firm of Remington, Gifford, Williams and Collichio, a general practice law firm specializing in corporate, business, and real estate law. He is considered an Adirondack "Forty-sixer," having climbed the major peaks of the mountain range.
Douglas Schelling 11. Douglas Schelling
Voting designee to the APA Commission representing the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development, who is appointed by Gov. Pataki.
Hon. James King 12. Hon. James King
Voting designee to the APA Commission representing the New York State Secretary of State, who is appointed by Gov. Pataki. Mr. King is a retired New York State Assemblyman, whose district included part of the Adirondack Park. After later becoming a New York State Supreme Court Judge in Plattsburgh, Clinton County, Mr. King is now the Chief Counsel of the Department of State.
James C. Frenette

13. James C. Frenette
An APA Commissioner when this photo was taken on August 9, 2001. Governor Pataki appointed Mr. Frenette as Interim Chairman of the APA Commission early in December 2002, and he served until May 9, 2003, when he announced his retirement after over ten years on the agency.

"I came to the agency as one kind of person and left as another," he said during his parting remarks.
"You changed my thinking on a lot of things and I hope I've changed the agency on others."

APA Commissioner. A Democrat, Mr. Frenette is an in-Park commissioner, residing in Tupper Lake, Franklin County. Gov. Cuomo appointed him to the APA in 1992, when he filled a vacancy that had existed since 1987. He was the APA's first new designee since 1984. Retired as a member of the Franklin County Board of Legislatures, he was also a teacher, town councilman, and town justice.

Joseph Rota 14. Joseph Rota
Executive Director, Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board. Mr. Rota resides in Huletts Landing, which is in the town of Dresden. He was town supervisor for twelve years and served as chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors. The Review Board is a monitoring agency that was created in 1973. Like the requirement for five local appointees to the APA commission, the establishment of Review Board was one of the compromise measures won by then-Assemblyman Glenn Harris, allowing Gov. Rockefeller to get the final Adirondack Park Agency Act enacted by the Legislature. Mr. Rota has no vote on the APA Commission, but is allowed to sit at the table with the commissioners and to participate in the debate. The Review Board publishes an annual report to the Legislature evaluating the APA.

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