Whoever wins the race for Chautauqua County Clerk has some big shoes to fill.
After 20 years at the helm, Sandy Sopak is retiring from the position. Besides winning numerous awards through the years, which include the Wheeler B. Melius Award for excellence in records management in 2008, clerk of the year by the New York State Association of County Clerks in 2004, and an Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society in 1999, Sopak made sure the clerk's office made the county money.
Did it ever. In fact, in almost all of her years of service, the office was bringing in more revenue than it cost to maintain.
Her excellence in the position was rewarded by voters through five terms in office.
This election, voters have a choice between Larry Barmore and Lori Cornell for county clerk. From our view, there is no way to fairly judge these candidates for the position. Both have ideas regarding better customer service at the Department of Motor Vehicle locations as well as proposals to benefit those who have served our country.
By running for this position, both will no longer serve in the reduced 19-member County Legislature in January. Basing their election on their experience as a legislator also does not seem favorable.
At times, Barmore battled the downsizing of the County Legislature far too often, though he has stated a legislator should listen to their constituents. We find it tough to believe his constituents did not want the downsizing when the November 2011 referendum vote to reduce from 25 to 19 county legislators was 87 percent "yes" and 13 percent "no."
Cornell has the same issue of inconsistency. She has not backed selling the County Home even though her constituency in Jamestown has overwhelmingly no attachment to the facility.
For us, consistency matters. In two major county issues, these candidates failed to hear their constituency.
For that, we offer no endorsement in this race.