After less than a year at the Council, Megan Phillips to become APA’s deputy director of planning
By Gwendolyn Craig
The Adirondack Park Agency is bolstering its ranks, adding a top administrator and counsel.
Megan Phillips, currently vice president of conservation for the Adirondack Council and a past energy and environment advisor to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will become the agency’s deputy director of planning. She starts Jan. 24, APA Executive Director Terry Martino announced Thursday during the agency’s board meeting. Phillips will oversee a staff of six.
Martino also announced the hiring of Lake Placid attorney Craig Michaels. He will join the legal team as a senior attorney beginning Jan. 20. Michaels has represented park towns and villages in the last couple of years.
Before starting his own practice in the Adirondacks he worked for Norfolk Law in Lake Placid and for Cahill Gordon and Reindel in New York City. Martino noted Michaels’ work as a consulting attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Phillips will replace Rick Weber, who retired last year after more than a decade in the post. She moved to Keene from the Albany area in May 2021.
“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to return to government service inside the Adirondack Park,” Phillips said in a news release. “I love living here and look forward to working with the passionate and hardworking staff at the Park Agency.”
Martino highlighted Phillips’ experience working with federal, state and local officials. Phillips was also appointed to the state’s road salt task force in December. That group is charged with reviewing road salt practices in the Adirondacks and making recommendations for minimizing its use to protect public health and water quality.
“We had worked closely with Megan when she was involved with the (executive) chamber going back to 2018, and really look forward to having her here as a member of the staff,” Martino said. “I think it’s a great day when we’re seeing the addition of another attorney and certainly our deputy in planning.”
As a senior policy advisor for Cuomo, Phillips helped with energy and environmental project budgeting. She also assisted in policies involving climate change, public lands management, waste reduction, water-quality protection and environmental remediation. She lists on her resume taking part in the creation of the Office of Renewable Energy Siting.
In March 2021, the Adirondack Council announced Phillips’ hire as the vice president of conservation. She replaced Rocci Aguirre, who has since returned to the Council as its deputy executive director.
In a news release Thursday, the Council Executive Director Willie Janeway said:
“We are pleased that the APA recognized her talents and will assign Megan a key role in its efforts to protect the park. But we are disappointed to be losing her talents here on staff. She will be missed.”
The council said Jackie Bowen, associate director of conservation, will take over its four-person conservation team.