The publisher and editors at The Recorder – Kevin McClary, Kevin Mattison and Charlie Kraebel – are apparently ignorant of the definition of “Public Benefit Corporation.” In yet another scathing editorial about the mural situation released on Thursday, September 19, 2013, they assert:
The project has come to a grinding halt after Mayor Ann Thane and a few other city residents stepped in and demanded — even though they don’t own the building and have absolutely no say over it — that a mural on the second floor be preserved, claiming it has historic significance. (emphasis added)
That statement is at best a gross distortion. No matter where you stand on this particular issue, you should not believe for a second that the public does not have any say in what AIDA does. Here are some facts:
AIDA was commissioned in 1973 as a Public Benefit Corporation. The section of NY State law that recognizes AIDA reads:
For the benefit of the city of Amsterdam and the inhabitants thereof, an industrial development agency, to be known as the CITY OF AMSTERDAM INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, is hereby established for the accomplishment of any or all of the purposes specified in title one of article eighteen-A of this chapter...Its members shall be appointed by the governing body of the city of Amsterdam. – Source
Because AIDA is supposed to operate for the benefit of the people of the City of Amsterdam, board members of AIDA are appointed by the Common Council. That way, they are held accountable for the decisions they make. Yes, AIDA has the authority to make the final decision on this matter, not the mayor. But as a citizen of the City of Amsterdam, whether you think the mural should be saved or not, you do absolutely have every right to have your say on this matter just as you do on any other matter of public policy. And the Common Council, as your elected representatives, should take everyone’s opinions into consideration when it comes to appointing new AIDA board members in the future.