Onondaga County Legislature meets at the County Courthouse on Montgomery Street. Photo by Julie McMahon | Central Current. Credit: Julie McMahon

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency will get its first new board members in nearly seven years.

Legislators Tuesday approved two of Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Jim Rowley’s appointees:

  • Cydney Johnson, Syracuse University vice president of community engagement and government relations
  • Elizabeth Dreyfuss, founder of the nonprofit Girls on the Run Upstate who has worked in commercial real estate

Johnson and Dreyfuss will fill spots previously held by Steve Morgan and Victor Ianno Sr.

Morgan and Ianno both plan to step down from their roles. Morgan spent nearly nine years on the agency’s board, and Ianno served on the board for 11 years.

Johnson’s term will run through June 1, 2024, while Dreyfuss’ term will run through June 1, 2023.

They are the first new members to join the board since August 2016. Before Ianno and Morgan stepped down, all seven board members had been appointed during County Executive Ryan McMahon’s run as Legislature chairman.

Legislature minority leader Chris Ryan also attempted to appoint members to the IDA board.

Ryan nominated:

  • Chris Montgomery, director of Syracuse Build
  • Matthew Nesbitt, business manager of local union Ironworkers 60

Rowley required that the nominations be packaged and could not be voted on separately.

Rowley’s nominations of Johnson and Dreyfuss were introduced first and approved, making Ryan’s nominations void.

The IDA, which is administered by the county’s office of economic development, was key in expanding White Pine Commerce Park, where Micron plans to invest $100 billion to build computer chip manufacturing plants.

Property owned by IDAs is tax-exempt. That means OCIDA was able to buy property to expand White Pine without paying taxes on the property.

IDAs also often handle the review process for new development and hand out tax breaks. OCIDA is the agency that will handle that process with Micron.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story mistakenly identified former Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency board member Steve Morgan as the chief financial officer for the county.

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Chris Libonati

Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.