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DEPUTY ELECTIONS COMMISSIONER QUITS TO RETURN TO CONCORD POULTRY FARM

There's an old saying that you can take a boy away from the farm, but you can't remove the farm from the boy.

Deputy Elections Commissioner Ronald A. Wendel, 60, is the latest to give credence to the maxim.

Today, he left the $50,000-a-year-post he has held for two years to return to the Concord poultry farm and market that he runs with his sons, Marty and David.

He assumed the office in 1993 after a shift in Republican politics saw Assemblyman Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Springville, replace Victor Farley as Erie County GOP chairman and led to the ouster of Herbert H. Klein of Boston as deputy elections commissioner.

"There's no rancor in my departure," Wendel said. "Everybody is smiling. We had no problem. Actually, I knew a year ago I would leave. I had written my resignation letter then, but I only signed it about a month or six weeks ago."

Of his two years as deputy elections commissioner, Wendel learned there is little freedom in election decisions.

"The Election Law is the bible," he said. "Every 'i' must be dotted and every 't' crossed. There's a big election coming this year. It will take lots of work. I would rather be with farm and family.

"I had been away from the farm for 10 years, eight years as supervisor of Concord and two years as deputy to (Elections) Commissioner Ralph Mohr."

Wendel never entirely lost touch with his chicken and turkey business.

Sometimes on Saturdays he would make poultry deliveries. And for two years he spent a week of his vacation at the farm during the pre-Thanksgiving rush.

While Wendel will return to the farm, he plans a less active role in its operation.

"We are in the process of arranging an ownership shift in favor of my sons," Wendel said.

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