MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said that County Legislator David Himelein (District 18), who passed away on Friday, “will be missed.”
WNYNewsNow reached Borrello for comment on Sunday morning. The County Executive confirmed Himelein’s passing before describing Himelein’s personality.
“We were all very saddened to hear the news,” Borrello said. “Dave was a friend, and an amazing colleague and he will be missed.” Borrello detailed how Himelein and Borrello served on the Legislature for years, saying that he was a “great partner and hard worker.”
Borrello said that, at one point, the two officials served together on the Legislature’s Audit and Control Committee. Chautauqua County’s top official explained how Himelein’s broad background helped him provide a different mindset to the Legislature. At the time of his passing, Himelein served on the Administrative Services and Planning & Economic Development Committees.
“Dave brought a unique, and productive perspective. Not only did he have a long career working at Welch and the agricultural industry, he also was a volunteer fireman and emergency services person,” Borrello said. “He could bring us the real perspective on what it was like to deal with so many situations, whether it was the challenges we face in agriculture or the challenges we face in delivering emergency services around the county.”
“Dave had a tremendous perspective on that, and that was something that really brought a lot of help and balance to the committees he served on, and his leadership role as the Chairman of the Legislature.”
“There were so many (good memories),” Borrello said. Himelein lived in Findlay Lake, where Borrello said his sister also resides.
“It was always nice to go to functions with (Himelein) in Findlay Lake, whether it was the fire hall or something else that was going on in that area,” Borrello explained. “Everyone knew him and liked him, and I just enjoyed going to places with him in that area, whether it was when I was campaigning for County Executive or just a member of the Legislature trying to do things in Findlay Lake to promote economic development.”
“Dave always created instant credibility and likability for us, and the Legislature.”
Because of Himelein’s passing, there is now a vacant seat in the Legislature. Borrello said that a recommendation is typically made by the district’s party of the person who needs to be replaced. The Legislature would, then, vote on whether or not to allow the nominee to serve the rest of Himelein’s term, which ends in December.
Borrello said that the Legislature will “step up” as the search for Himelein’s replacement develops.
“This Legislature has a long history of stepping up to help everyone within the county, so it’s not strictly about representing your own district boundaries, it’s about doing what’s best for the county as a whole,” Borrello said. “I’m confident that will continue to be the case while we go through the process of looking for a replacement for (Himelein).”
“I know there are people out there that are interested in stepping up and serving, so I’m certain that we will be able to put someone forward and the Legislature will be able to vote on that person very soon.”