Committee Approves Supermajority Change

MAYVILLE – Some legislators are preparing to change the rules in order to sell the Chautauqua County Nursing Home.

The Administrative Services Committee discussed a local law Tuesday to amend the 1975 local law requiring a two-thirds legislative vote in order to sell real property in Chautauqua County.

The amendment – supported by Chairman Jay Gould, R-Ashville; George Borrello, R-Irving; John Runkle, R-Stockton; Robert Stewart, R-Ellington; Tom Erlandson, D-Frewsburg; Larry Barmore, R-Gerry; Mark Tarbrake, R-Ellicott; Paula DeJoy, D-Jamestown; Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point; Paul Wendel, R-Lakewood; Fred Croscut, R-Sherman; David Himelein, R-Findley Lake; and John Hemmer, R-Westfield – would allow a simple majority vote in order to sell property. And, it requires only a simple majority vote to amend the law.

“We are losing $9,000 a day,” Tarbrake said. “We can’t afford to keep this facility. That’s the bottom line. I think it’s important we sell it now.”

Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, once again reinforced that while she is for selling the home, she is not for selling it to potential purchaser William (Avi) Rothner of Altitude Health Services.

“It’s a question of the buyer,” Cornell said. “Last month, we defeated a buyer with a poor reputation and questionable business practices. Now, what this local law is effectively doing is changing the rules after the game. There was a loss. It’s time to move on. (It’s) time to get a better buyer.”

Cornell and Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, were the only two in the committee to vote against the proposed changes to the local law. The local law will be discussed Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. during the full legislature meeting.

Additionally, during Tuesday’s meeting, a resolution from Timothy Hoyer, D-Jamestown, amending rules and regulations of the Chautauqua County Legislature was unanimously declined by the committee.

In the resolution to amend the rules and regulations of the legislature, it was suggested that instead of opening legislature meetings with a prayer, instead legislators should recite the New York state oath of office.

“The prayers that open the legislature sessions are almost always Christian in nature, thus establishing not only a religion but favoring one religion over others,” the resolution read.

The resolution was not discussed by the committee, and Hoyer was not in attendance for questioning or comments. However, following the meeting, County Executive Greg Edwards said he was glad the committee vetoed the resolution.

“My position is, we need more pledge to our constitution,” Edwards said. “We need more individual prayer, which that is what this is, the full legislature praying. I had full intention to veto this if it landed on my desk. I am very encouraged that this committee did not even take up debate and merely voted in opposition to it.”