LITTLE VALLEY – After about a year in committee, a plan to do away with the Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission in favor of a personnel director was approved Wednesday by the County Legislature.
After a public hearing that attracted no speakers, the Legislature voted 14 to 3, with four members absent, to do away with the three-person commission that some have called a relic of the “good old boy” days.
Voting to retain the commission were Legislators John Padlo, D-Olean; James Snyder Sr., R-Olean; and Norman Marsh, R-Little Valley.
The move, which will take effect on May 1, 2015, will remove Cattaraugus County from the list of a handful of other New York counties that are still holding onto the system that was recommended for replacement by a 1960s panel.
Legislator Carl Edwards, R-Limestone, has said that the elimination of the three positions would save the taxpayers of Cattaraugus County $24,000, the amount paid to the three members of the board.
The three members are the only paid appointed board members representing the county, which has been a point of contention for some time, according to Legislator Paula Stockman, R-South Dayton.
The commission was a target a few years ago, as the county was going through a tough economic time.
“We had a meeting with the commissioners and told them that their department was heavy on the levy,” Stockman said.
Others have heard displeasure from constituents on the matter.
“I talk to people all the time that are upset by the political patronage that goes on with this board,” Legislator Susan Labuhn, D-Salamanca, said at a recent meeting. “They want this issue to be dealt with and be done with it.”
Some are concerned that the new personnel director would have too much power.
Human Resources Director David Moshier said there would be changes in the length that the personnel director would serve. According to Civil Service Law, the personnel director would have a six-year term and the human resources director would serve for four years. Moshier said he does not envision any changes in the number of personnel required in his office.
In fact, Moshier said, it could make one aspect a bit easier. Members of the Civil Service Commission convene once a month to set eligibility lists for jobs in the county and municipalities; with a personnel director, that could be taken care of in a day or so.