No Endorsement For County Clerk

Four years ago, we did not endorse in the race for Chautauqua County clerk. We will go the same route again this year.

From the outside, it looks as though current Clerk Larry Barmore has done a fairly solid job of running the office that was efficiently run for so many years by Sandra Sopak until his election in 2014. There have even been a number of improvements, especially in the Jamestown office.

Some things, however, that are a bit concerning are the fact that Barmore was no shining star when he served for six years in the Chautauqua County Legislature, often voting for larger government and higher spending. After election and pledging to be apolitical, Barmore thrust himself into the midst of a countywide political issue. He also admits, during his tenure at clerk, he had an issue that had to be addressed by the county ethics committee. He claims it was something to do with an employee while others say he was doing private work on county time. There is no public record of the admonishment.

LeeAnn Lazarony announced her candidacy in June and has not been as aggressive as one would need to be to knock off an incumbent. She has held public office in the village of Cassadaga, where there are few complaints regarding her terms. But some of Lazarony’s statements this week on the campaign trail make us wonder how well she would handle the job. For example, she told those at a League of Women Voters debate that she would be personally dealing with customers and printing their documents — something which calls into question her ability to oversee the office. Questions about hiring practices in the League of Women Voters debate in Dunkirk call into question whether the actions she proposes to take to increase the number of bilingual employees in the county are ethical or even possible.

She says she will make the office more customer friendly and less political. That is a nice expectation, but recent history suggests it is not a claim that will be kept.