MAYVILLE – Lawmakers in Chautauqua County have changed the way the county executive’s seat is filled in the event of a vacancy.
On Wednesday, the legislature unanimously approved a new law giving the body the power to fill the position within 30 days of a vacancy.
“We kind of dodged a bullet in the fact if something were to happen, a tragedy to any of our county executives, we had no clear way of replacing them in the long term,” said County Legislator and Legislative Chairman P.J. Wendel. “We researched this and realized this is something we needed to do. A lot of thought went into it, a lot of debate, and the best thing about it is this was a bipartisan decision. It was not led by any one party and we thought a lot of scenarios out.”
Wendel said the candidate must be a registered elector in the county, the same party as the incumbent and recommended by the county committees; either Republican or Democrat.
“It was important to see that the county committees were involved,” said County Legislator Terry Niebel. “It is important because elected officials are only in the elected position because of the committee people. They work on our behalf and they get us on the ballot so we can run.”
Discussion of changing the law began after current Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello announced he was running for New York State Senate.
Previously, if a county executive were to leave office, the county attorney would take over.