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Cattaraugus lawmakers kill proposal to end Civil Service panel

LITTLE VALLEY – The bill had barely made it out of committee, it was so controversial.

Now, the Cattaraugus County Legislature has effectively killed a proposal to abolish the post of county Civil Service commissioner in favor of a personnel director by voting down a measure to schedule a public hearing.

“The Civil Service Commission is a vestige of the ‘bad old days,’ ” said Legislator Carl Edwards. “This is a holdover from days gone by that needs to bite the dust.”

One of his larger concerns with the commission is the amount of money it costs taxpayers, Edwards said.

Legislator William Sprague agreed. “This is one of a few good ways we can start to save a few dollars,” Sprague said. “It would be a good add to approve this measure.”

According to Edwards, replacing the three-person board with a personnel director would save approximately $28,000. The commission members are Linda Milks of Little Valley, Rosemary Ryan of Allegany and Howard Peterson of Salamanca.

The measure had been held in committee for about a month, and even in discussion, met with opposition.

In committee, Legislator James J. Snyder said, “We are fixing something that’s just not broken.”

Establishing a public hearing on the topic was defeated this week by a weighted vote of 9.8 against to 9.2 in favor.

Voting against the measure were Patrick Murphy, John Padlo, James Joseph Snyder, James J. Snyder, Steven H. Teachman, Howard Van Rensselaer Sr., William J. Aiello, Linda M. Edstrom, Robert L. Klancer and Norman L. Marsh. Paula Stockman and David Koch abstained because of conflicts of interest with family members working in the Human Resources Department.

In other news, lawmakers voted to voice their opposition to the state’s move toward early voting.

“This is another mandate by New York State for counties to pick up,” Sprague said. “There is no need for an expanded time to vote. We are all trying to do more with less, and this is going to be very expensive. This needs to be sent back to the state.”

The cost to county taxpayers was not the only concern.

“While I agree with what Mr. Sprague said, there is another, bigger reason to oppose this,” Edwards said. “This will open up voter fraud exponentially.”

According to the legislation being passed through on the state level, all counties in the state would have five sites that will allow for residents to vote 14 days prior to a general election and a week before a primary or special election. Voters would not have to vote within their district.

The Legislature’s next meeting will be at 3 p.m. May 8 in the Legislative Chambers in the County Building, 303 Court St., Little Valley.