Orange County Partnership Honors its 2021 MVP Richard Golden
John Jordan | July 9, 2021
MIDDLETOWN—More than 300 political, business and civic leaders gathered at the West Hills Country Club in Middletown on June 8 to honor the Orange County Partnership’s 2021 Most Valuable Partner (MVP) veteran attorney Richard Golden.
The program, held in a tent on the West Hills complex to conform with CDC coronavirus guidelines, featured a host of dignitaries who honored Golden, including Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Orange County Partnership Chairman Michael Gilfeather, and Orange County Partnership President and CEO Maureen Halahan. The event also included a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by Holt Construction’s Dan Depew, who formerly served as the Supervisor for the Town of Wallkill, as well as an update on economic development activity in Orange County by Halahan, who noted that the county is currently experiencing strong demand in both attractions and expansion projects, particularly in the manufacturing and distribution sectors.
Orange County Executive Neuhaus in a videotaped message to the gathering, said that Golden has been helpful to him for years, including during his time as Supervisor for the Town of Chester and in his nearly eight-year tenure as Orange County Executive.
“He has been really instrumental on major projects and crises that Orange County has faced and has helped me navigate through them very successfully,” Neuhaus said. He later added that he looks forward to sitting down with Golden and “flushing out the issues of the day. Every time I see him he is just a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”
The program featured a video tribute to Golden’s work throughout the years in Orange County, which particularly highlighted the counsel he gave the Orange County Partnership in its prolonged legal dispute with the New York State Authorities Budget Office. Golden, a partner in the Goshen-based law firm Burke, Miele, Golden & Naughton, LLP, recognized the injustice being perpetrated on the Partnership by the ABO, which prompted him to join the fight. Due in large part to his guidance, on Nov. 20, 2019, Orange County Supreme Court Judge Robert A. Onofry ruled that the Orange County Partnership is a private not-for-profit corporation focused on pursuing economic development throughout Orange County and rejected the ABO’s assertion that the Partnership was a governmental public authority under its control.
The Partnership’s Halahan described Golden as “the right man at the right time” that literally ensured that the Orange County Partnership could continue to fulfill its mission of promoting economic development “with grace, honesty and dignity.”
Golden has extensive experience as a federal and state trial attorney, concentrating his practice in the areas of municipal law, employment law, civil rights, commercial law, public and private bidding and construction law, land use development, zoning, and general federal and state litigation, including appeals. For decades, he has not only served as counsel to government and municipal boards throughout Orange County and the surrounding Hudson Valley, but also has represented private developers and land owners as well.
Some of his more notable assignments include serving as County Attorney for Orange County from 1994 to 2001 under former County Executive Joe Rampe where he was responsible for a wide array of municipal, civil rights, construction and procurement, transactional and employment issues. In the late 1990s, he won court approval of one of the first Project Labor Agreements with the construction trades on the construction of the Orange County Courthouse.
He also crafted a law at the bequest of then Orange County Executive Rampe to allow for a public/private partnership for wastewater treatment plants in Orange County. It took two years to get the law passed and it still stands today. Most recently, as Attorney for the Town of Goshen, he successfully represented the town’s interests in the approval process for LEGOLAND New York.
In his acceptance speech, Golden humbly accepted the MVP award and offered some hopeful advice to the assembled on how worthwhile projects can move forward. “There needs to be more collaboration and (projects) not be looked at as a ‘zero sum state of mind,’ and I think when that happens then everyone benefits including all the communities and their constituents because economic development is such an important part of having a vital community,” he said.
Golden concluded his address by asking all those involved in economic development on both the government and private development side, “to look toward not just going into every meeting as sort of a new battle ground, but as an opportunity to better the project, address the necessary issues and get the project in the ground as quickly as possible.”