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Ogdensburg Growth Fund amends bylaws to comply with state rules

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The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corporation has revised its bylaws, creating new policy and making amendments to some of its existing rules and regulations in order to keep the city’s low-interest business lender in compliance with state regulations.

The Growth Fund, like all other New York public benefit corporations, must satisfy the legislative requirements of the 2005 Public Authorities Accountability Act. That law calls for the agencies to exhibit ethics, transparency and independence when they conduct business.

The agency’s board recently signed off on the amendments after they were reviewed and approved by the Albany law firm Harris-Beach.

Interim City Manager Philip A. Cosmo, who is also the Growth Fund’s chief financial officer and secretary, said Monday that most of the amendments amounted to changes in wording.

But some amendments represent a notable change in procedure. The Growth Fund’s budget and annual report were previously folded into the city of Ogdensburg’s annual budget. Now they will be set apart and recorded as such. “It (the Growth Fund) has to be a separate and distinct authority,” Mr. Cosmo said.

There is also something new in the formation of two standing committees, governance and audit/finance.

The governance committee will deal with ethics and conflict of interest issues, self-evaluation, periodic bylaw revisions and keeping abreast of trends in governance.

The Growth Fund’s audit and finance committee will oversee the organization’s finances. It will be charged with hiring an independent accounting firm to conduct audits.

Also, a business review committee will be formed to review and make recommendations on loan applications.

The Growth Fund board will also abide by a code of ethics.

The Growth Fund was established in April 1983.

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