County Legislature fills empty seat

Photo by Dennis Phillips Right, Martin Proctor was appointed to fill the District 21 seat on the Chautauqua County Legislature to finish the unexpired term of David Himelein, who died earlier this month of health issues.

MAYVILLE — There is no longer a vacancy on the Chautauqua County Legislature.

On Wednesday, the legislature unanimously passed an emergency resolution to appoint Martin Proctor to fill the District 18 seat on the Chautauqua County Legislature to finish the unexpired term of David Himelein, who died earlier this month of health issues.

Himelein was first appointed to the Chautauqua County Legislature to fill the District 18 seat after James Caflisch was appointed as the county real property tax director. In 2011, Himelein won his first election to the legislature in District 21. District 21 represented Mina, Clymer, French Creek and Ripley.

In 2013, after the Chautauqua County Legislature was downsized from 25 to 19 members, Himelein first defeated longtime legislator Fred Croscut in a Republican primary and then defeated Ed Carutis, Democratic candidate, for the newly formed District 18 seat. District 18 represents the towns of Chautauqua, Sherman and Mina.

Himelein was active in local and state organizations including the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, past president and permanent member of the Chautauqua County Fire Chiefs Association, past chairman of Chautauqua County Fire Advisory Board, member of the Findley Lake Fire Department (past chief) and board member of the Mina-Findley Lake Historical Society.

Himelein was a lifelong resident of Findley Lake, retiring from a local international company after a 41-year career with experience in accounting and manufacturing supervision.

In other business, Norman Green, Chautauqua County Board of Elections Democratic commissioner, was reappointed to his position. Prior to the vote, Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan, said he would be voting “yes” to the reappointment because he doesn’t believe politics should play a role in Green’s reappointment because the Chautauqua County Democratic Political Committee selected him for the position. Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, was the only legislator not to approve the reappointment.

During the privilege of the floor segment of the meeting, Peggy Newell, Celoron resident, said she had come to the meeting to address the Burtis Bay weed situation. However, she said George Borrello, county executive, spoke to her before the privilege of the floor segment to let her know a plan is in place to clear the weeds in Burtis Bay.

After the meeting, Borrello said a plan was finally able to be created Wednesday afternoon to address the Burtis Bay situation. He said Chautauqua Lake Association barges will be used with county equipment and the assistance of the town of Ellicott and village of Celoron to alleviate the situation. He added more detailed plans will be announced to the public by Friday.

Following the mass number of fish being killed in Burtis Bay by weeds, a remaining weed mass lingers. Members of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance performed a site review in March, and a plan of attack was proposed to coordinate resources with the Chautauqua Lake Association in order to clean up the stretch of weeds.

During an April meeting of the town of Ellicott board, it was announced that no official measures have been taken, with talks of not having the right equipment for the cleanup.