Chautauqua County Legislator Jane Fagerstrom, who is starting her fourth term, confirmed Friday she has been named by the Democratic caucus as its choice for Legislature chairman.
If, as expected, she receives the 13 necessary votes at Monday's reorganizational meeting, Fagerstrom will replace Michael Bobseine. Bobseine, a Fredonia resident, decided not to seek the chairmanship again after serving for the past two years.
In addition to being a legislator, Fagerstrom has also been an administrator in county government, which she said gives her a unique perspective.
"When I learned that Mike Bobseine wasn't going to seek the post this year, I did express to my caucus my interest and provided them with a summary of my background," she said. "I really felt that I brought kind of a unique blend of background to this position, because not only is the chairman of the Legislature kind of the ambassador to the outside world, but also it is an administrative position."
Fagerstrom began working in county government in the 1970s as executive secretary for former County Executive Joseph Gerace. She retired in 1988 as personnel director and Civil Service administrator.
Fagerstrom said she looks forward to the challenge of heading the full Legislature. In particular, she noted this will be the first full year of performance-based government in the county, as well as operating under a new charter.
"In line with the new performance-based government, which does require some accountability and some measurement standards, there will be a lot of administrative work, I think, this coming year to get everybody in line with this new form of government that we've entered into," she said.
She credited Bobseine with creating a cooperative spirit between the two sides of the aisle.
"On the whole," she said, "I think we work together very well."
Until a state Appellate Court judge ruled last week that Democratic newcomer Robert Anderson could take the oath of office in the disputed District 8 race, the majority on the Legislature was in question. Now that Anderson can take the oath Monday, Democrats have a 13-12 majority.
Current Minority Leader James Caflisch, R-Clymer, said the GOP will submit the name of a member of its own caucus Monday for chairman. He would not reveal who that was.
Monday's Legislature reorganization meeting begins at 4 p.m.