Help Wanted: Business seeking new chief executive to oversee a budget of roughly $230 million, deal with longstanding entanglements with government bureaucracy that drive up your costs and which you can't change, long hours and a grueling public review every four years. Ability to work with board of directors a must. Applicant must be a self-starter with an ability to cut spending without cutting services and have the charisma and logical reasoning to bring idealogically opposed board members into agreement. Hours are long, with often-lengthy board meetings. Ability to withstand public scrutiny is a required job skill.
That advertisement might as well have been posted countywide within minutes of County Executive Greg Edwards' announcement that he isn't running for re-election.
County Legislator Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point, is the first to officially submit his resume, but he won't be the last. Allan Hendrickson, county Republican Party chairman, recently said there were three candidates interested in the job while Democrats were ready to announce their candidate before holding off when another round of interested candidates stepped forward in the wake of Edwards' announcement.
There are a lot of critical issues facing the county that should be raised as issues during this election season. The time is now for the public to make its views on the future of the Chautauqua County Home crystal clear. Edwards' plans for a single sewer district around Chautauqua Lake and to find solutions to water issues in the northern end of the county are worthy of public discussion too. Voters should hear candidates' plans to build tax base in the county and ways to keep taxes under control.
Candidates will try to steer the public discussion in their direction over the next seven months. That's what candidates do - even candidates who have the public's best interest at heart.
It can make for an unproductive public dialogue, though.
To that end, The Post-Journal is asking for help from our readers. We want the campaign to be the best public dialogue it can be, because we recognize our county has serious issues to be solved. We will do our best to get the answers from the candidates and drive a productive conversation between you, the voter, and those who want to represent you.
Members of the public who have issues they want to see addressed by candidates can email email@example.com and put "Candidates" in the subject line or post them to The Post-Journal's Facebook page.