RAY BROOK — After an encore two years of service, Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Dick Lefebvre revealed Tuesday his plans to retire in May.Lefebvre has held the post since August 2005, when he regained the helm of an agency under public scrutiny after allegations that staff had circulated inappropriate e-mail.He has served a total 14 years on the APA Board, twice at its helm, a tenure nearly half the 30 years APA has been in existence.First appointed by then Gov. Mario Cuomo to the board in 1993, he was made chairman by Gov. George Pataki in 1998.Lefebvre considers the years of service an honor."During the 14 years that I have been involved, I believe a greater understanding has evolved for the agency's role, the needs of local governments and the importance of balanced decision-making," he said in a statement.It was Lefebvre who initiated the annual Local Government Day conference 10 years ago, which convened again last month with more than 200 town and county leaders in attendance.He has also kept an eye on agency operations.APA staff spoke highly of Lefebvre's leadership in a statement issued Tuesday."Mindful of the increasing workload on staff, Mr. Lefebvre led a steady effort to increase budget and staffing. His efforts were rewarded with the passage of the 2007 state budget, as Governor Spitzer authorized additional resources to ensure the agency is adequately staffed for the challenges ahead."Brian Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council, who has watched guardedly as Adirondack development adapts to environmental regulation, said Lefebvre has been of great service to the APA and to the Adirondack Park."He has calmed the waters at the agency. He has reached out to all concerned about land use in the park and listened to every side."There are many internal obstacles still to overcome," Houseal added. "There is work undone. Mr. Lefebvre would agree. We will miss him."APA Board Chairman Dr. Ross Whaley expressed admiration for Lefebvre's ability to communicate."He's had a wonderful knack for bridging troubled waters. He continued his career as an educator while serving the Park Agency by simply chatting at a dinner with local folks, discussing policy with elected officials or lobbying state government to ensure that the needs of the Adirondack Park and its people were heard."Whaley also suggested something of a Lefebvre legacy."Lefebvre has had a profound impact on the Adirondack Park. He has forged strong partnerships for the betterment of the park that will last long into the future. This is a special place, and it has benefited immensely from a very special person."APA spokesman Keith McKeever said Lefebvre plans to retire after the agency's May meeting.The APA will begin to look for a new executive director, a position appointed by the board."The deputy director (Mark Sengenberger) assumes the role in the meantime," McKeever said.Lefebvre's departure opens what could be another round of changes at the park helm, since four-year board terms now held by Frank Mezzano and Katie Roberts are up for reappointment by Spitzer in June.Whaley's tenure as chairman also ends June 30.For his part, Lefebvre said he wants to spend more quality time with his wife, Gay, and their family in Caroga Lake, Fulton County."I am really looking forward to ice out and fishing with the grandchildren this spring."
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