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CHAUTAUQUA IDA BOARD PAVES WAY FOR SMOOTH TRANSITION

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency board Monday closed 1997 with no formal attempt to privatize its operations and no public effort to keep Executive Director Donald Burdick on for another year as a private consultant.

Some County Legislature Democrats raised concerns that the IDA would make a last-minute drive for one or both of those changes.

After a three-hour executive session with the man who is expected to be named county attorney in the incoming administration of County Executive-elect Mark Thomas, the board took no action.

Jamestown attorney Frederick Larson said, "The County executive-elect asked me as an attorney and a friend if I would be a liaison to the Industrial Development Agency at their last meeting under the (Andrew) Goodell administration."

Larson would not specifically say what was discussed, but said, "My role was to help facilitate a smooth transition to the Thomas administration and to make sure that the year got off on a cooperative footing."

County Legislator Joseph Trusso, D-Jamestown, earlier said some IDA board members were prepared to try to keep Burdick on the agency's payroll.

Trusso called the attempt "a slap in the face to the incoming Thomas administration."

Thomas will have the authority to appoint a new director of the county Department of Economic Development, who also serves as administrator of the IDA.

In addition, Thomas will be able to appoint three of the nine board members because of terms expiring. Two other spots will be filled by the County Legislature.

Thomas will be sworn in at noon Thursday in the County Courthouse.

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