On the board since June 2001, John Doldo Jr. has served the Watertown Industrial Center for almost as long as it has existed.
But the seven-member board reluctantly voted Tuesday to replace him as secretary because he has been unable to make meetings after an unspecified illness that started about a year ago.
The board agreed to appoint its newest member, Michelle L. Capone, to succeed him, stressing it needed to make the move because the secretary serves an important role. She accepted the appointment only after some coaxing from her colleagues.
The action was taken as part of voting on a slate of officers. Elected to one-year terms, the other officers are Donald W. Rutherford, president; J. Paul Morgan, vice president, and Nickolas W. Darling, treasurer.
While they did not want to disrespect Mr. Doldo, board members expressed frustration about not getting enough members to attend meetings to have a quorum and vote on matters.
John has been a valuable board member and has provided guidance for a long time, said board member Donald C. Alexander, CEO of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.
The JCIDA has found itself in the same situation with Mr. Doldo, 81, who has been on that board since 1999, Mr. Alexander said, noting he has tried to find out about his friends plans.
Mr. Alexander said he also talked with county Board of Legislators Chairwoman Carolyn D. Fitzpatrick, R-Watertown, about the situation.
He said it will be up to the legislators to decide whether to replace Mr. Doldo.
Contacted later, Mrs. Fitzpatrick said the county will not take any action on an appointment until Mr. Doldo, a local real estate broker and insurance agent, submits a letter of resignation.
I love Johns knowledge, his experience and the way he tells us the way it is, she said.
Mr. Alexander said he has known Mr. Doldo for about 30 years, first working together on a senior citizens project in Brownville of which Mr. Doldo became the property manager.
During his long tenure on both boards, Mr. Doldo has been known for his financially conservative approach to JCIDA and WIC matters.
When he unexpectedly attended a meeting in April, the board got an earful from him when he questioned why the WIC board was being asked to pay legal expenses for the JCIDA in connection with the state comptrollers investigation of pension benefits for its staff.
He has been a strong advocate for financial responsibility, Mr. Alexander said, noting Mr. Doldo helped build the JCIDA into a fiscally stable organization.