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GOODELL AIRS GRATITUDE IN FAREWELL TO LEGISLATURE

Republican County Executive Andrew Goodell made his farewells to the Chautauqua County Legislature this week, saying he was "grateful, thankful, and honored" to have served for the past eight years.

He said he is most proud to be leaving county government in "excellent" financial condition and credited the efforts of Finance Director Robert Beckman and Budget Director Annette Mohawk. Goodell also wished County Executive-elect Mark Thomas and the new Democrat-majority legislature good luck for the future.

At the same time, Legislature Democrats are trying to tear a hole in what they called "golden parachutes" for county managers who may lose their jobs in the transition from the Goodell to the Thomas administration.

Legislator Joseph Trusso, D-Jamestown, has prefiled a local law for action Jan. 7 that would eliminate immediate paid health insurance benefits for managers who have been with the county for 10 years and are let go "without cause."

"This is strictly political," Trusso said. "We fought against it earlier this year, and now we have a chance to turn it around before changes are made in those positions. These are political appointees, and Andy still wants to take care of them."

Democratic legislators at this week's meeting got a dress rehearsal for their soon to be 13-12 majority. With two Republicans absent, in a party-line 12-11 vote, they rejected a plan to pump $1.7 million into a tax stabilization reserve fund.

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