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GOGGIN QUITS LEGISLATURE FOR MARINE CALL TO DUTY

Chautauqua County Legislator Dennis Goggin, whose Marine Corps Reserve unit has been called to active duty, has resigned from the Legislature, and James Caflisch of Clymer has been recommended as his replacement.

Goggin, a Republican from Clymer, is training at Camp LeJeune, N.C., for possible assignment to the Persian Gulf region.

Legislature Majority Leader Alfred Jones, R-Mayville, said the county GOP made the choice of Caflisch, of Caflisch Lumber Co., as Goggin's successor.

The Legislature will vote on Goggin's resignation and the Caflisch appointment Wednesday night if the Personnel and Governmental Affairs Committee recommends approval.

The measure would be the first item on the agenda so that Caflisch could be sworn in before a vote on the county budget, which also is on the agenda.

But Democrats could move to table approval of Caflisch to give them an advantage in the budget vote.

The Legislature is made up of 14 Republicans and 11 Democrats, but with Goggin gone and Legislator John Champion, R-Jamestown, recovering from a mild stroke, the margin becomes 12-11. However, Maverick Republican Robert Stanley often votes with the Democrats, thereby giving the Democratic side 12 votes.

Republicans support a $126 million budget package proposed by the GOP-controlled Finance Committee. That package, which carries a tax increase of about 15 percent, was previously defeated by the Legislature.

Democrats support versions of County Executive Andrew Goodell's original proposal with a lower tax rate.

If no budget is approved during the Wednesday night meeting, Goodell's budget would automatically go into effect the next day.

Also on the agenda is a new three-year contract agreement with Unit 6300 of the Chautauqua County Civil Service Employees Association, which represents 1,100 county workers.

The agreement, which calls for a 14.5 percent raise, was ratified Thursday by the union membership, even though the union leadership had recommended that members reject it after a state fact-finder proposed a 16.5 percent pay increase.

The workers have been without a new agreement for more than a year.

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