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Chagnon to continue as Chautauqua County Legislature chairman

County Executive PJ Wendel, bottom left, speaks to the county legislature during Monday’s organizational meeting over Zoom.

With the coronavirus in full swing, county officials have decided to keep their current legislative leadership structure in place.

During the legislature’s organizational meeting Monday, which was held via Zoom and shared on Facebook, Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, was unanimously selected to continue as the chairman.

“He has a proven track record of doing a good job and dedicated to the entire group. I think he would be our best choice to continue on in that role,” said Legislator Lisa Vanstrom, R-West Ellicott, as she nominated Chagnon for the position.

The Democrats did not provide a nomination from their party. Instead, all five minority legislators endorsed Chagnon.

After the vote, Chagnon thanked his fellow legislators for their support.

“I’m honored to continue in the position of chairman of the Chautauqua County Legislature. In this role I will continue to do my very best to demonstrate servant leadership,” he said. “The extraordinary challenges our county faces in these unprecedented times requires us to continuously demonstrate persistence, nimbleness and creativity. I am privileged to contribute to the leadership of this wonderful county.”

Chagnon said as chairman he would continue to “listen aggressively and effectively; to ask probing expansive and thought-provoking questions; to define the big picture from the constituent details; to convey a vision that others can clearly understand and willingly support the pursuit of; dogged determination to stay the course toward the vision; and to achieve the goals that support the mission; to repress my own ego and support the legislature; to be the best example of servant leadership that I can be.”

After he spoke, the legislature gave him a round of applause.

Later in the meeting, County Executive PJ Wendel thanked the legislature for its hard work. “It has been nothing less than amazing. What we have undertaken has been challenging but every one of you met the challenge and worked diligently for your constituents,” he said.

Wendel noted that as they embark on 2021, the coronavirus will continue to dominate what they do. “We have some uncertainties as we move forward, but I know the teamwork, the collaboration, as I’ve said before, the unity of effort that you have provided and the support you have given me has been vital,” he said.

In other business:

¯ Legislator Frank “Jay” Gould of Ashville was appointed as the Republican majority leader and Vanstrom was appointed as the assistant leader.

¯ Legislator Chuck Nazzaro of Jamestown was appointed as the Democratic minority leader and Legislator Robert Bankoski of Dunkirk was appointed the assistant leader.

¯ Katherine Tampio was appointed the clerk of the legislature and Olivia Ames was appointed the deputy clerk/secretary to the legislature. Both were reappointments.

¯ The OBSERVER and Post-Journal were designated the official newspapers.

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