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Ahlstrom beats Caflisch, 14-11, to retain chairmanship

Keith D. Ahlstrom was returned to his post as chairman of the Chautauqua County Legislature during Tuesday's reorganization meeting, but not without political skirmish.

The Dunkirk Democrat was re-elected as chairman in a 14 to 11 vote. James E. Caflisch of Clymer was nominated by Republicans for the post.

During nomination speeches, Minority Leader Fred Croscut of Sherman contended that Ahlstrom should not be chairman of both the county Democratic Party and the County Legislature.

"This Legislature does not need a chairman who also serves as county Democratic chairman," Croscut said.

"We need someone who is independent of that position and will put first on the agenda what is best for the people of this county -- not a political party."

Ahlstrom, meanwhile, bristled, calling Croscut's comments a personal attack.

"It's a chairman's job to run meetings and keep order in meetings. Whether I'm doing that for the committee or doing it here, for him to intertwine the two issues is completely unfair and unprofessional," Ahlstrom said. "I'm very upset that the Republicans would use a meeting like this to attack me personally."

The Legislature also approved the reappointment of William F. Coughlin as public defender, Janet Jankowski George as clerk and Lori Foster as deputy clerk and secretary. Their appointments were approved unanimously.

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