Martino’s 12-year run as executive director coming to an end
By Gwendolyn Craig
The Adirondack Park Agency’s top administrator is leaving.
Executive Director Theresa “Terry” DeFranco Martino announced her retirement Friday during the agency’s board meeting. Martino, who has served in her post since August 2009, will step down in February, but January’s board meeting was her last.
“I’ve been humbled by the opportunity to be part of the agency family that stretches back for decades, it’s truly a family,” Martino said. “Thank you for this journey together.”
Martino’s departure leaves leadership of the 48-employee agency in question once again, though she said the agency and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office are in search of a replacement. The board was without a chairman for more than two years until Hochul appointed John Ernst to the seat in October.
Martino’s announcement came a day after she disclosed hiring Megan Phillips, the Adirondack Council’s vice president of conservation, as deputy director of planning. Ernst is former chairman of the Council and has been honored twice with the organization’s highest award.
“The agency is in a good position for change today,” Martino added.
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Ernst read a statement thanking Martino for her service. He called Martino’s commitment to the APA “deeply woven in a body of work that included historic state land actions and some of the most complicated and contested land projects to come before this board.”
“It’s been an utter pleasure to get to know Terry,” Ernst added. “She’s a person of kindness and warmth.”
Jerry Delaney, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, wished Martino well. “Terry has been a steadying influence for 12 years and she will be missed,” Delaney said.
Martino arrived in her job during Gov. David Paterson’s administration after Richard Lefebvre vacated the position in 2007. Lefebvre had taken the agency’s helm shortly after a 2005 state inspector general investigation found images of nude and partially nude women on the office computers of former Executive Director Daniel Fitts and other APA staff. Fitts resigned in August 2005.
Martino’s salary in 2021 was $170,000, which the state Comptroller’s Office said included retro pay of just over $33,000.
Before joining the APA, Martino served as executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association for over a decade where she oversaw projects with annual budgets up to $2.5 million and worked with nonprofit organizations balancing economic vitality with natural resources, according to an old APA news release. The Vermontville resident was a delegate during the 1998 National Civic League Competition in Alabama at which Saranac Lake was dubbed an “All American City.”
Martino also served on a number of boards throughout the years including as a director of the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society and a member of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance.