Plan to do away with Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission goes public

LITTLE VALLEY – Legislators have done what they can and now want to hear from the public on a plan to do away with the Civil Service Commission in favor of a county personnel director. The legislature set a hearing date last week by a 17-4 vote.

The plan, set to go in front of the public on March 12 at 3:01 p.m., would dissolve the three-person Civil Service Commission in the county and replace them with a personnel director in the Human Services Department. With all that would need to be done to establish the potential new position, the transfer would not take place until May 2015, according to District 8 Legislator Carl Edwards, R-Limestone.

The issue of dissolving the commission has been floating throughout the legislature for close to a year, when the idea failed to garner enough support to make its way out of the Labor Relations Committee. Since that time, support to change the format has mounted.

Edwards, in previous meetings of the committee, has said the commission is a relic of the past and should be done away with, for the cost if nothing else. The three members of the board make a total of $24,000. Civil Service Commissioners are the only appointees of the legislature who are paid for their service, according to District 1 Legislator Paula J. Stockman, R-South Dayton.

Opponents of the change say the move from three commissioners to one personnel director would be entrusting too much power into that office. According to Human Resources Director David Moshier, that would not be the case. In committee Feb. 12, he told the board that the members of the commission can only certify a list and that would become the job of the personnel director.

That person would not be in a position to offer suggested hirings.

Cattaraugus County is one of 10 counties throughout New York state that still operates a commission.

Voting no on the public hearing were District 10 Legislators Linda Edstrom, R-Olean, John Padlo, D-Olean, and James J. Snyder Sr., R-Olean, and District 3 Legislator, Norman Marsh, R-Little Valley.

The hearing will be held prior to the regular meeting of the Cattaraugus County Legislature on March 12, at 3:01 p.m. The meeting will be in the Legislative Chambers, on the third floor of the Cattaraugus County Center at 303 Court St., Little Valley.