Public Defender Office moves Family Court

MAYVILLE – A move which has been described as “advantageous” by Public Defender Ned Barone will finally take place in February after more than a month of discussion with the Public Safety Committee’s past and newly elected members.

The county will now lease approximately 1,536 square feet of office space on the second floor of the Chautauqua Municipal Building from Feb. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016, at a rate of $700 per month from the town of Chautauqua. The move will cost $2,492.85 and will be entirely paid for through a grant from Indigent Legal Services.

“This was a proposed lease I put together with the town of Chautauqua,” Barone said at Wednesday night’s committee meeting.

Family Court proceedings take place in the Chautauqua Municipal Building, which is two blocks away from the Gerace Office Building.

“Everything’s here (in the Gerace Office Building) and our attorneys are required to travel back and forth,” Barone said. “It’s so much more efficient, not only for the clients, but our attorneys as well. I felt if we were going to make a move, it’d be right to the heart of where Family Court is.”

The resolution was unanimously passed by the committee, and was also approved at the Audit and Control Committee meeting on Thursday morning.

In other matters regarding public safety, Sheriff Joe Gerace provided an update on the county’s public safety radio system, which is outdated and currently undergoing a complete upgrade.

Motorola will be the new provider for the system and should be in full operation as of January 2015.

Fire service radios are not on the same bandwidth, but Gerace said the eventual goal is to have everyone on the same bandwidth in order to communicate from border to border within the county.

“To be the optimal system we want it to be, there are some real significant features,” Gerace said.

Lastly, the committee agreed to deny the state permission to use the name and seal of Chautauqua County in relation to the SAFE Act and anything associated with it.

“Basically, I believe the state police are putting together a website and requested agency seals as part of this website,” Gerace said. “Many counties object it. I made it known we object. There was quite a bit of reaction from counties across the state.”

The SAFE Act was implemented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013 and imposed a variety of restrictions on gun owners. Since its implementation, it has been a highly controversial topic amongst law enforcement agencies and gun owners.