MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore says some of the criticism his constituents had in the last year was warranted while some was unfair.
Barmore spoke with WNY News Now Wednesday afternoon in an effort to learn more about his re-election campaign. The criticism, in particular, stems from the way the department and, in particular, the Department of Motor Vehicles, operated as the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The incumbent Republican explains how he and his staff attempted to accommodate those who needed the County Clerk’s services despite the restrictions levied from former Governor Andrew Cuomo and other Albany officials.
“I spent several weeks, most of every day, in my car driving to people’s houses, picking up their paperwork to put their car on the road, driving it down to the DMV, taking it in because nobody was allowed in the DMV, having one of my clerks handle the paperwork and driving it back to their house so they could put their car on the road,” Barmore said. “It was one of those things nobody saw besides the person we drove through. We did what we had to do.”
“I’ve taken a lot of criticism, some fairly, some unfairly,” he added. “We did what we thought was best.”
Barmore notes that the County DMV re-opened nearly six weeks earlier than what Cuomo originally proposed.
Improvement to resources and efforts to save the taxpayers are two of the biggest accomplishments Barmore says he’s accomplished during his eight years in office. In addition, Barmore explains that the County Clerk’s Office continues to generate more revenue as each year passes.
“I have business experience,” Barmore said. “The County Clerk’s Office is a business, a government-owned business. We still have to run efficiently, we have to make the most money we can, and have the best service we can.”
One of the biggest moves Barmore has overseen since taking office was the move of the Jamestown DMV office to its currently location on West Third Street. He says, however, that he wishes that the DMV parking lot was larger.
Barmore details how he is seeking to implement an electronic system for the Court Clerk personnel to use when they record and submit legal testimony from court cases for other jurisdictions, including New York State Fourth Appellate Division in Rochester, to use.
WNY News Now asked Barmore about what keeps him motivated to keep going as County Clerk. He explains that he “loves” to work, work, and work.
“I’ve worked since I was 14-years-old,” Barmore said, noting that he’s worked for family members in the past. During the interview, Barmore’s phone briefly rang.
“I enjoy when my phone rings,” he furthers. Barmore says he usually receives calls from customers that he knows seeking answers on services that his office provides. He says that public relations is a key component to his role.
Barmore is being challenged by Fredonia Democrat David Salley for the County Clerk gig this fall.