By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Legislators named two new members to the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Board on Thursday.
Teamsters Local 445 union representative Sandy Shaddock earned unanimous approval during both the Executive Committee meeting and then the full Legislature meeting later in the day.
She had been seeking to replace IDA Board member Cindy Garlinghouse, who had been appointed as a labor rep but is no longer a union officer (though she still is a union member).
Garlinghouse was forced to resign this month by the legislative majority, though she said she’ll remain on the IDA’s twin agency, the Sullivan County Funding Corporation.
“It’s been an interesting trip since January,” Shaddock related. “I’m just glad it’s finally over.”
Shaddock said she looks forward not just to representing local labor interests on the IDA Board, but finding out how it really operates.
“I think there’s a whole perception [about] what actually happens,” she explained. “I don’t know being on the outside if that perception is accurate.”
She added she’ll ensure businesses receiving IDA benefits are held accountable, both now and in the future.
The other IDA Board member’s appointment, however, didn’t go as smoothly, with Monticello real estate businessman Sean Rieber narrowly beating Jeffersonville chiropractor Dave Sager in the morning meeting, then more widely in the afternoon meeting.
Rieber and Sager were in the running to replace longtime IDA Board member Ray Walter, who plans to spend much of his time in Florida.
Legislators Kitty Vetter, Cindy Gieger, Cora Edwards and Gene Benson were initially all against Rieber’s appointment during the Executive Committee.
“[Sager] has no personal issues to gain by being there,” Vetter said of her vote. “The other gentleman possibly does.”
Vetter later clarified that she worried Rieber through his real estate dealings might run into a conflict of interest, but Rieber said afterwards that if any such conflicts arise, he’ll recuse himself from IDA votes.
By the full Legislature meeting, however, only Vetter and Gieger remained opposed to Rieber’s appointment, with Benson and Edwards joining the other legislators in affirming Rieber via a 7-2 vote.
When asked afterwards why she changed her vote, Edwards said she had realized in the interim that Rieber could indeed recuse himself from votes with potential conflicts, and she hopes he will.
Benson admitted he had intended to vote for Sager who “interviewed better” but switched at the last minute to ensure an unspecified “compromise” he’s working on and to show solidarity with fellow legislators.
“I knew he [Rieber] had enough votes to win regardless,” Benson said. “... I’m going to go with the majority to show a little bit of unity.”
Rieber, a former county legislator and current vice chairman of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee, was gratified by the vote and excited at the prospect of directly enhancing economic development in Sullivan County.
It’s a position he said he’s sought for the past decade, and at 37, he hopes to well represent the younger businesspeople in and coming to the county.
“I bring a different voice,” he acknowledged. “... I definitely think my generation is underrepresented in county government.”