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RYAN'S WIDOW NAMED TO COMMISSION VACANCY

The Cattaraugus County Legislature on Wednesday settled a dispute within the county Democratic Committee by appointing Rosemary Ryan of Allegany to the Civil Service Commission.

There had been no Democratic representation on the commission since Aug. 6, with the death of her husband, R. Paul Ryan.

Five of the Legislature's six Democrats sponsored Ryan's appointment to fill her late husband's term until 2004. Legislator Elliott Ellis, D-New Albion, did not join as a sponsor, saying he favored former Legislator Charlotte McLaughlin of Olean.

The Legislature approved the appointment in a voice vote.

Since the death of R. Paul Ryan, the Civil Service Commission has continued to meet and do business with the other two commissioners -- Don B. Winship of South Dayton and George C. Peters Jr. of East Randolph, both Republicans.

The county's Democratic Committee met in September and considered three people to fill the vacancy, including Rosemary Ryan.

In their meeting, county Democratic Committee members recommended the appointment of McLaughlin, who is Democratic chairwoman in Olean.

Upon receiving the recommendation, the six Democratic legislators refused to sponsor a resolution for McLaughlin's appointment.

On Oct. 19, Democratic Executive Committee members met to recertify to the clerk of the Legislature their recommendation for McLaughlin's appointment to fill the term through May 31, 2004.

The issue of the appointment has split the county Democratic Committee. Chairman Richard O. Stevenson sent a letter to committee members saying: "The Democratic legislators seem to be under the mistaken impression their caucus actions outweigh the committee's recommendation. Our representatives need to separate their own personal issues from the business at hand and allow our party to move forward in a positive manner."

After the vote, Stevenson said he would not comment further.

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