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LEGISLATOR ON 'DETENTION' GETS REPRIEVE

"Detention" for Salamanca Legislator Edward J. O'Dell ended Wednesday when he received three assignments to Cattaraugus County Legislature committees.

Chairman Gerard Fitzpatrick, R-Ellicottville announced O'Dell -- the youngest member of the board -- was back on several committees and allowed to attend his first session following the board meeting.

O'Dell, who is serving his second year of his first four-year term, and Larry G. Mack, D-Humphrey, a five-year legislator, were not given committee assignments, as were 19 other lawmakers in January.

"He's been in detention long enough," Fitzpatrick said of O'Dell. "If some Democrats want to come off committees for him it's all right. Still, he's on probation again."

Fitzpatrick said O'Dell came to him several weeks ago, seeking committee assignments.

"If he wants to be part of the team I told him I'd consider it," he said.

O'Dell and Mack were penalized for behavior last year that was described as "disruptive" by former Chairman Richard E. Haberer, who suspended the two for a year.

Haberer never made public O'Dell's behavior that left him off committees. Other legislators were upset that O'Dell called Minority Leader Charlotte McLaughlin, D-Olean, "bitch" during a public meeting.

Mack, who frequently clashes with other legislators, is barred from Democratic caucuses, did not have any committee assignments restored.

In response, Mack fired off a statement accusing Mrs. McLaughlin of asking other Democrats to resign from committees to make room for O'Dell.

"Why?" Mack asked. "She wants (O'Dell's) support and vote for minority leader." Legislators will decide 1998 leadership roles in December caucuses.

Mrs. McLaughlin said the Democrat caucus considered O'Dell's request and "he had the support if he could work with everybody."

O'Dell attended a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday, taking a seat vacated by Paul Wachter, D-Salamanca.

O'Dell also was appointed to the Public Safety Committee, replacing Carol Ginter, D-Allegany, and to the Development, Agriculture and Planning Committee, replacing Elliott Ellis, D-New Albion.

In other matters representatives of Carpenters Union Local 66 picketed the County Center and gave out protest notices listing legislator's names and phone numbers. They are protesting the hiring of the non-union Kirst Construction Co. to work on the new public works complex.

In other matters, legislators:

Accepted a high bid of $75,800 for the sale of timber on county lands in the Town of South Valley. Potter Lumber Co. of Allegany submitted the successful bid.

Accepted a low bid of $87,000 from Sigma Painting Co. of Grand Island for painting the public works complex being constructed.

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