At the recent meeting of the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation (DLDC), its governance Committee, chaired by councilwoman-at-large Stephanie Kiyak, presented recommendations to the full board.
Kiyak emphasized the six points were just recommendations for consideration.
The first recommendation was a reminder that the Public Authorities Act mandates accountability training. The committee presented information about online classes available free of charge.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Left to right, Council members Stephanie Kiyak and William Rivera. Kiyak presented the recommendations of the governance committee.
The second recommendation was "Any new appointees considered to join the DLDC Board should be vetted through the Governance committee, beginning with their resume."
James Muscato, although a member of the committee, voiced his disagreement with this recommendation, saying that appointments to the DLDC are the responsibility of the mayor, and this would take away from his authority.
The next recommendation stated, "Policy/procedural changes that the Chairman of the DLDC may become aware of, regardless of whether state or local level, should inform this committee as soon as learned."
The fourth recommendation was, "It is recommended that the Bylaws be amended to include language that requires the DLDC Board meet at least once every 60 days."
Kiyak explained, "Apparently there is no guideline as to how often this board should meet."
Board member Rosemary Banach suggested this might be quarterly instead saying, "Just food for thought."
The fifth recommendation generated the most discussion. It stated, "It is recommended that a policy/procedure be adopted for all new loan applicants that requires an investigation be conducted by the DLDC Board to ensure legitimacy, and that this investigation should be conducted at the beginning of the application process and reviewed periodically thereafter (if/when applicable and tangible)."
To clarify this recommendation, Kiyak said, "The original inspection takes place based on what they're telling us they want to do and then periodically afterward we should be inspecting to make sure those things are being done."
Banach said, "I agree - but the question is who does it? ... How the money is spent ends up being out of your control."
Kiyak replied, "That's not true. If you take out a home improvement loan with the bank and you tell the bank you are doing X-Y-Z you better do X-Y-Z."
Planning and Development Director Steven Neratko said, "Actually due to the fact that the loan money is coming from the federal government and goes through CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) processes, it actually does have to be spent on a certain activity."
Banach asked, "How far do you want to take that?"
Kiyak answered, "To the point of being in compliance with the state. ... Because ultimately this board is responsible but ultimately who is really responsible is the common council."
Banach followed up, "But who is responsible? As we go forward it is the who, what, where, when, why."
Kiyak said, "As a board we need to decide the logistics of these recommendations. We (the committee) were just providing the recommendations."
Kiyak clarified that changes would be implemented going forward with new applicants.
The final recommendation was "that spreadsheets of each loan portfolio be provided to all members of the DLDC at each meeting held. Information should include but not be limited to principal amount loaned, principal amount paid-to-date, interest rate, interest amount paid to date and payment schedule from loan inception to current date."
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