LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers voted 12-2 Wednesday to appoint Cortney Spittler to the vacant Republican election commissioner’s post.
Spittler, the acting GOP election commissioner, was deputy commissioner under former commissioner Michael Brisky.
Brisky resigned last month during an investigation of complaints of misconduct against himself and former county attorney Eric Firkel. Both have denied any wrongdoing and are running for seats on the County Legislature.
County Republican Chairman Robert C. Keis Sr. certified Spittler’s appointment on the recommendation of the Republican Party. Both Brisky and Firkel sit on the Republican Executive Committee.
The investigation by the Rochester law firm of Harris Beach started in January after complaints were filed of sexual harassment by Firkel. It grew to include possible misconduct by Firkel and Brisky unrelated to the original complaint.
Following an executive session on May 8, county lawmakers authorized Harris Beach to refer its an investigation to the state attorney general for further review and investigation.
Republicans, some of whom were skeptical, interviewed Spittler during the majority caucus prior to Wednesday’s meeting.
Legislator Andrew Burr, R-Gowanda, vice chairman of the county Republican Committee, said he was confident “Cortney will bring integrity to the Board of Elections.”
During a brief appearance on the floor of the Legislature, Spittler said she will do the job justice.
The appointment is for the 1½ years remaining on Brisky’s four-year appointment.
Asked why he voted against the appointment of Spittler, Olean Democrat John Padlo said, “It just wasn’t in the best interest of taxpayers.” He declined further comment.
Salamanca Democrat David Koch said he didn’t think Spittler “would be a good fit” as commissioner in the Board of Elections.
Legislators were unanimous on another issue — urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to oppose the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.
All 14 legislators present agreed to co-sponsor the resolution. Agriculture is a $100 million-plus business in Cattaraugus County.
The resolution stated farmers will continue to suffer from a decline in milk and other commodity prices — prices that cannot be passed onto the consumer in a global marketplace.
Farm Credit East estimates overtime paid to farmworkers after eight hours in a day would cost an additional $300 million and reduce farm income by 23 percent. It would also drive some small farm families out of business.
The bill is expected to come before the Assembly and Senate before the close of the session in June.
Other action included:
- Approving bids for Olean courtroom renovations from Duggan & Duggan General Contractors, Allegany, which bid $214,360, and Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric Corp., Jamestown, which bid $71,500 for the electrical portion of the project.
- Approving a resolution authorizing the county Industrial Development Agency to provide sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax breaks to Sunny Olean for a renovation project at 106-108 W. State St.
- Authorizing a public hearing June 12 for an update on the Ellicottville Brewing Co. brewery, pub and museum project in Little Valley.