MAYVILLE - New Year's Day brought more than a new calendar year to residents of Chautauqua County.
The courtroom of the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville served as the site of the county's Inauguration Day on Wednesday - during which incoming and returning members of the Chautauqua County legislature were sworn into office.
Friends and family were gathered as 11 legislators were sworn in by the Hon. Stephen Cass of the Surrogate's Court. The legislators present for the inauguration ceremony included: David Himelein, R-Findley Lake; Jay Gould, R-Ashville; Lisa Vanstrom, R-Ellicott; Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point; Terry Niebel, R, C, I-Dunkirk; John Hemmer, R-Westfield; PJ Wendel, R, C-Lakewood; Mark Tarbrake, R-Lakewood; Ronald Lemon, R, C-Frewsburg; George Borrello, R-Silver Creek; and David Wilfong, R ,C-Jamestown.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan recites the oath of office administered by Judge John T. Ward during an inauguration ceremony for county officials on Wednesday.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
Following the county legislators, County Executive Vince Horrigan then took the oath of office from the Hon. John T. Ward, along with David Foley, district attorney, and Larry Barmore, county clerk. After taking his oath, Horrigan said he is looking forward to his term with optimism, and has already established a plan for moving the county forward in 2014.
"We each took an oath individually, but yet I am fully aware that, in order to serve people and solve challenges, it's not going to be an individual effort. We're going to have to work together," Horrigan said. "And so the theme of my administration is going to be 'Working Together to Grow Chautauqua County,' and I'm excited about that. I'm excited about building on what those before us have done."
According to a Tuesday press release from Horrigan's office, the "Working Together to Grow Chautauqua County" initiative is intended to be implemented by focusing on five key areas of growth and development: to grow efficiency in County Government Service Delivery and public-private partnerships, to grow a self-sufficient and skilled workforce through education and business participation, to grow economic development opportunities through local and regional partnerships, to grow and retain jobs from existing businesses and to grow regional demand for Chautauqua County as a year-round destination for visitors, investors and business development.
Also in attendance were state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, and state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, both of whom expressed their well-wishes and hopes for a promising future for Chautauqua County through its new leadership.
"This is a very joyous and very exciting day in Chautauqua County," said Young. "And as I look around, I am so impressed with what this group has been able to accomplish. I have every confidence in this group of individuals that they have the skills that are necessary to do a great job."
Goodell took the time to impart some advice to those who were sworn in.
"'Be truthful, be courageous and be gentle,'" he told them, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. "The voters in your districts have expressed their confidence in your ability and your vision and your dedication to our county. It's an awesome responsibility and it's an awesome honor. So, congratulations. It is well-deserved."