Chautauqua County Executive-Elect Vince Horrigan has work to do before Jan. 1.
Current County Executive Greg Edwards has announced Stephen Abdella, county attorney, as the acting county executive from Nov. 18 through Dec. 31. Horrigan didn't want to start his four-year term any earlier than the first of the year.
"This is my time to really have everything in place," Horrigan said. "The primary reason is it's important for me to be able to use this limited time to engage our community."
Horrigan announced his transition team earlier this week, following through with one of his campaign promises.
"The purpose of this transition team," Horrigan said, "is to provide an external, nonpartisan assessment of Chautauqua County government's strengths, weaknesses and opportunities."
Horrigan added that he wants to spend time between now and Jan. 1 allowing the transition team to give feedback.
"We can do this prior to (me) actually sitting in the seat when things get busy and hectic," he said.The team will provide recommendations to improve economic development and the delivery of Chautauqua County services.
The following community members have agreed to serve as Horrigan's team of advisers: John Jay Warren, Northern Chautauqua County Local Economic Development Committee; Gregory DeCinque, former president of JCC; Sue McNamara, State University of New York at Fredonia business professor; Mike Roberts, president and CEO of Allied Alarm Service Inc.; Lillian Ney, Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission; Tory Irgang, executive director for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County; Aaron Resnick, Westfield Development Corporation; and Kelly Borrello, town of Hanover Chamber of Commerce.
In the days leading to the end of the year, the group, according to Horrigan, will interview representatives of manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, retail, health care and technology-related businesses. In addition, the team will interview representatives of nonprofits, foundations, local governments and faith-based groups as deemed necessary. The transition team will review current plans, budgets and policies and finally provide an assessment of strengths and weaknesses in Chautauqua County, identifying future near-term opportunities for growth.
"I think Vince is very interested in what we're doing in the north county with strategic planning," Warren said. "He's a big believer in strategic planning, as am I. I think we are in sync in that regard. We have to decide what are the most important issues facing us now."
Warren plans on using his experience to advise Horrigan. He wants to form a "vision" and then provide the new county executive with strategies.
"In my area, economic development, what are some things we should be doing, some ideas we should be putting into place?" he asked.
"I'm happy to be on the team," Warren added. "I think Vince is a very capable manager with his wide breadth of experience in management. I think he's going to do a great job for all of us.
Horrigan mentioned that Irgang has helped him with employability initiatives and McNamara's involvement as a business professor gives him perspective from students as they graduate and look for jobs in Chautauqua County.
He said his team is composed of community leaders who have done significant things in Chautauqua County.
Besides working with the team, he plans on spending the next several weeks reaching out to the newly elected legislature and those he has not worked with before.
"I really want to put together a great plan and work together as we move Chautauqua County into a growing community, which is so important for our future," he said.