Despite allegations of intimidation by a department head, the Chautauqua County Legislature has agreed to lease space in a Fredonia parking lot to dump leachate down a manhole.
Legislator Michael Bobseine, R-Fredonia, opposed the measure, saying he still has questions about the leachate disposal program.
Bobseine said Public Works Director George Riedesel tried to intimidate him into changing his vote. He said the intimidation appeared to be at the direction of County Executive Andrew Goodell.
Legislator Joseph Trusso, D-Jamestown, called Riedesel an "irresponsible prancing peacock of a public works director."
Other Democrats called for Riedesel to be fired. Legislator Richard Davies, R-Westfield, said Riedesel made a similar attempt to intimidate him, but he took his complaint to the county executive.
Goodell said he doubted if any department head was guilty of intimidation, but added, if any legislator has a problem "he should take it to me."
The vote in favor of leasing the space was along party lines with minority Democrats opposed.
The Legislature agreed to give 46 registered nurses in four county departments pay increases. Legislators heard a plea from Dunkirk Mayor Gregory Krauza to move forward on plans for the stalled north county office building. Krauza declared the building would be "good for economic development and good for northern Chautauqua County."
He addded he will keep requesting the county executive to act on a commitment made by the previous Legislature and by former County Executive John Glenzer.
Glenzer and the former Legislature had agreed to build a new office building in Dunkirk but Goodell is looking into the possibility of continuing to lease space at several locations.
"I have no apology for standing up for the taxpayers and taking a hard look at the finances," Goodell declared, "and operating the county government like a business."
He added, when the process is finished, he will make a decision.
Bids for the project came in under estimates but Goodell said there are still questions surrounding the costs.