The Alliance for Municipal Power will hold on to about $80,000 in contributions from its members in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties while it makes a last push for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to make appointments to the North Country Power Authority.
AMP Chairman Robert C. Best Jr. had suggested the alliance return the money to its members because NCPA has lacked a quorum since former board member Robert R. Burns resigned over infighting in May of 2011. However, members at a recent AMP meeting instead passed a resolution that asks its municipal members to send letters to state representatives asking for NCPA appointments.
Were waiting for the governor to make a move, Mr. Best said.
Candidates under consideration were Clarkson University professor Stephen D. Bird, Gouverneur representative Michael D. Perrigo, SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy, James T. Spencer and Canton Town Supervisor David T. Button. More than a year ago, AMP passed a resolution asking for the removal of James I. Monroe as chairman of NCPA, but he remains head of the authority.
Mr. Monroe said he has tried to have a meeting with NCPAs remaining members, but the only one willing to talk to him is Marie C. Regan.
AMP had planned to turn over municipal contributions to NCPA, which it had pushed the state to create as the means to form a public utility, but the authority ran into immediate problems over the transition and a contract with Howrey, a Washington, D.C., law firm that went bankrupt.
Until someone is on NCPA, theres no one to hand the money over to, Mr. Best said.
AMP has suspended its operations unless something occurs where it needs to meet. It plans to meet in a year or so to revisit the money issue if seats on NCPA remain unfilled, Mr. Best said.
Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said he thinks AMP should return municipal contributions rather than wait to see what happens with NCPA.
People think that AMP and NCPA are one and the same. Theyre not, he said. NCPA should come to the towns as a separate issue.
Mr. Dawson, along with Colton Town Supervisor Lawrence C. Patzwald and Madrid Town Supervisor Joseph A. Finnegan, also asked for an accounting of money paid out for work done.
People think we were trying to cause trouble, but thats not it at all, Mr. Patzwald said. We just want to see what the financial workings were.
Mr. Best said AMP officials had no problem going through the minutes and pulling out payments made to him at the rate of $30 per hour plus expenses for work he did in meeting with attorneys and state officials.
I was the only one who got paid, Mr. Best said. At one time, I went to the board and said, Im not wealthy enough to do this.
Mr. Best said he was never authorized to sign checks and expenditures were approved and voted on by committee.
Mr. Dawson said he received the accounting.
I dont have any further questions, he said.
It was just kind of a generic thing we were asking. I wasnt accusing anybody of anything.