Megan Phillips to become APA Deputy Director of Planning

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ALBANY — The Adirondack Park Agency is bolstering its ranks by adding a top administrator and attorney.

Megan Phillips, currently vice president of conservation for the Adirondacks Council and former energy and environment adviser to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will become the agency’s deputy planning director. It begins Jan. 24, APA Executive Director Terry Martino announced at the agency’s board meeting Thursday. Phillips will oversee a team of six people.

Martino also announced the hiring of Lake Placid attorney Craig Michaels. He will join the legal team as lead counsel from January 20. Michaels has represented the towns and villages in the park for the past two 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. Martino noted Michaels’ work as counsel for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Phillips will replace Rick Weber, who retired last year after more than a decade in the role. 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 Adirondack Park,” Phillips said in a press release. “I love living here and look forward to working with the passionate and hardworking Park Agency staff.”

Martino highlighted Phillips’ experience working with federal, state and local officials. Phillips was also named to the state road salt task force in December. This group is responsible for reviewing road salt practices in the Adirondacks and making recommendations to minimize its use to protect public health and water quality.

“We had worked closely with Megan when she was involved in the (executive) chamber since 2018, and we really look forward to having her here as a staff member,” Martino said. “I think it’s a great day when we see the addition of another attorney and certainly our planning assistant.”

As a senior policy adviser for Cuomo, Phillips helped budget energy and environmental projects. She has also been involved in policies dealing with climate change, public land management, waste reduction, water quality protection and environmental remediation. She mentions on her CV her participation in the creation of the Office for the implementation of renewable energies.

In March 2021, the Adirondack Council announced the hiring of Phillips as vice president of conservation. She replaced Rocci Aguirre, who has since returned to the Council as Deputy Executive Director.

In a press release on Thursday, Council Executive Director Willie Janeway said:

“We are thrilled that the APA has recognized her talents and assigned Megan a key role in their efforts to protect the park. But we are disappointed to lose her talents here on staff. She will be missed.

The council said Jackie Bowen, associate director of conservation, will take charge of its four-person conservation team.

A version of this story was posted by AdirondackExplorer.org.

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