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October 15, 2013

State censures Otsego agency

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — The state Authorities Budget Office announced in a press release Monday that the board of directors of the Otsego County Development Corporation was issued a letter of censure.

The OCDC was one of thirteen public authorities censured for persistent failure to comply with state law. A public authority is a corporate instrument of the state created by the Legislature to further public interests, according a definition on the state comptroller’s website.

The OCDC is a private nonprofit development group in the county. Agency officers, both past and present, said that the finding was in error and it has been working with legal counsel to show that. The state action has no penalty, local officials said.

The state office reported that the company had been notified starting March 2012 that it had failed to meet reporting and requirements under the public authority law.

Former OCDC president Douglas Gulotty resigned the position recently to take over as interim director the Industrial Development Agency. He said he didn't believe his former agency was subject to the state agency’s “interests,” he said Monday.

He said OCDC has worked with legal counsel for more than a year to prove that it's not a public authority. The agency is trying to persuade the Authorities Budget Office to agree, he said, and will remain in non-compliance because the OCDC doesn't agree with the state agency and it isn't compelled to do anything further.

Robert Harlem Jr. succeeded Gulotty in the post. He said Monday: “We are in compliance with all the rules and regulations as we understand them to be. We addressed all the issues and explained why they are wrong.”

The disagreement is a question of terminology at the corporation that has no paid employees, he said.

A message left for comment at the Authorities Budget Office on Monday, was not returned. Many state agencies were closed because it was Columbus Day.