How Quickly County Officials Can Forget

How soon Chautauqua County leaders forget.

In September, Chairman Jay Gould complained to WDOE that in preparing the 2014 county budget, there is very little fellow legislators can do.

“We control very little of our actual budget,” he told the station. “Most of it is state mandated. I want to say 13 percent, but I’m not even sure it’s that much that we control locally anymore.”

Gould, R-Ashville, sounded a familiar tone – blame the state for whatever poor decisions the county may have made in the past.

Fast-forward to the last meeting of the County Legislature when lawmakers took full responsibility for pay raises for its employees. Pay raises, we must note, they fully locally control.

So, with local control fully intact, Gould was one of 12 lawmakers who approved the six-year contract that is $1.7 million more than the previous contract for jail employees. Those who voted “no” were all from the north county, which is reeling after the announcement of 425 jobs being eliminated by next February. Those opposed were George Borrello, R-Irving; John Runkle, R-Stockton; Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan; Shaun Heenan, D-Dunkirk; John Hemmer, R-Westfield; and Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia.

Salaries, we should note, are locally controlled. About 33 percent of the county budget is comprised of that, much more than the “13 percent” pointed out by Gould.

Next time you hear the words “state mandate” coming for a county lawmaker or official, remember this action. In passing this contract, they gave up some local control.