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LOCKPORT – “The Coach” will stay behind the bench of the Niagara County Legislature in 2013.

William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, was chosen to continue as Legislature chairman Wednesday at the majority caucus’ annual dinner in Shamus Restaurant, Lockport.

Ross, 79, extends his record career with his 10th year of service on the dais. No one else has served more than eight years as chairman.

“I appreciate the confidence my colleagues have shown in me. I’ll try to do the best job possible,” said Ross, who also said he intends to run for another two-year term in the Legislature in the 2013 election.

Ross first served as chairman in 1989, when he was a Democrat. This will be his sixth consecutive year as chairman; he also held the post from 2004 to 2006. Also, 2013 will be his 20th year as a legislator.

Ross, called “Coach” because of his long career as a coach and athletic director at Niagara Wheatfield High School, will have the same senior colleagues as in the past six years: Clyde L. Burmaster, R-Ransomville, as vice chairman and Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, as majority leader.

However, those selections mean at least two of the Legislature’s committees will have new chairmen in 2013.

The Legislature passed a rule change Tuesday that barred the chairman, vice chairman or majority leader from heading committees.

Burmaster had been leading the Public Works Committee, and Updegrove had been chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone to serve in a leadership position,” Updegrove said.

Under the new rules, he and Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, are to present Ross recommendations for committee memberships. Updegrove said legislators will be asked their preferences.

Updegrove said the new committee lineup may not be ready for the 2013 reorganizational meeting Jan. 2 and may have to wait for the first regular business meeting of the year Jan. 15.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com