Call me maybe

The County Legislature will once again be discussing the Chautauqua County Home tonight – and, if residents didn’t know it before, they may have received a phone call letting them know.

Automated phone calls have been made to Chautauqua County residents, encouraging them to attend tonight’s meeting to speak out against selling the County Home.

“This isn’t the first one I’ve gotten,” said Jamestown resident Randy Jacobs. “You know, you get a call and it’s an unlisted number, it’s a private caller. But, it’s a little diatribe talking about how horrible it would be to sell the County Home.”

According to Jacobs, the recording identifies the ‘Chautauqua County workforce’ as the group behind the phone calls. A phone call from the OBSERVER to David Fagerstrom, CSEA Chautauqua County Unit president, confirmed that the calls are coming from the CSEA Western Region Office.

“We are just trying to educate the public on what’s really going on with the nursing home situation,” Fagerstrom said before deferring further questions to the Western Region Office.

Lynn Miller, communications specialist for the CSEA Western Region Office, also confirmed that the calls are coming from the CSEA office. However, she said she was unaware that the calls were coming from an unlisted, private phone number. Miller did say the phone numbers are taken off various voter lists from the county. Additionally, the calls are made by a computer.

“Our system is set up during appropriate hours,” she said. “So, no one is disturbed really early in the morning or into the evening. We are respectful of people’s time.”

When asked why the CSEA is not clearly identified in the automated message, Miller said the phone calls represent the workforce of the County Home.

“David verified for you that (the phone calls) were coming from us. It is the workforce at the home that is CSEA,” Miller told the OBSERVER. “It’s coming from the workforce at the home.”

Miller also emphasized that the CSEA is well within their rights to make the automated phone calls.

“We would operate within the law,” she said. “So, our calls are not part of (the Do Not Call Registry). If people are on that, if our calls did apply to that, then we wouldn’t be calling.”

The point of the automated messages, according to Miller, is to inform taxpayers and county residents that legislators are considering amending a local law dating back to 1975, which requires a two-thirds supermajority vote in order to sell real property in Chautauqua County.

“Call your legislators or come to the meeting,” she said. “Let them know that amending this law is not a good thing. It’s just the political game.”

The legislature will have a meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Gerace Office Building in Mayville. In addition to discussing the County Home, County Executive Greg Edwards will provide his State of the County Address, and a motion calling for the repeal of the NY SAFE Act will be discussed.