Chautauqua County lawmakers came four votes short of overriding County Executive Greg Edwards' veto of a hiring policy approved by the Legislature last month.
Thirteen legislators voted for the override, and 17 were needed.
Republican legislators sided with the GOP executive, while Democrats argued that a hiring freeze -- or policy -- is part of their oversight duties. They also argued that Edwards' veto message, nearly two pages long, was more of a political statement.
Some legislators were unhappy with remarks made by Jamestown Democrat Joe Trusso. He argued against Edwards' veto message, calling the first-term executive "inept" more than once.
Edwards later agreed that debate on the matter should have been kept on a "higher level," but he said he can take the heat.
"I am a public officeholder, and I have to deal with difficult issues that people don't always agree with. They are perfectly within their rights to express their concerns," he said.
Edwards also stood by his veto, saying he was trying to make the point that a hiring freeze would not really address the county's tax issues.