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Cell phone policy OK'd; any personal calls banned Nonbusiness calls only in 'emergencies'

The discussion is over, and Chautauqua County legislators have finally passed a cell phone policy for county employees.

At a meeting Wednesday night in the Robert H. Jackson Center, the Legislature voted, 22-3, to restrict personal use of county cell phones.

County Executive Greg Edwards, who worked with Legislator Scot Stutzman to come up with the final policy, was pleased to see it pass.

"I believe it was a good policy, one that was a result of good work on both the executive and legislative branch," Edwards said. "I think this sends the message that we can get work done if we work together."

Part of the new policy states, "No personal or nonbusiness related calls are to be made or received on a staff wireless telephone at any time."

It does make exceptions for "extreme emergencies."

There were attempts to send the policy back to committee.

Legislator Joe Trusso of Jamestown wanted to review the measure in the Audit and Control Committee, but Legislature Chairman Keith Ahlstrom told Trusso it wasn't a matter for that committee.

Ahlstrom was just happy to see the discussion come to an end.

"I'm pleased to see that we are done talking about the cell phone policy. I think it's a good policy. I think it's really aimed at directing the use of cell phones so that they are used properly."

Voting against the policy were Trusso, Robert Anderson and Jay Gould.

In other action, the Legislature approved giving $15,000 to the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse so it can obtain the USS Sphinx as a tourist attraction. The funds will come from the bed tax contingency account for 2006 and will be reimbursed through surplus bed tax funds expected for this fiscal year.

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