Sheriff, Students Are Honored By Legislature

Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, left, and Legislature Chairman PJ Wendel, right, recognize Sheriff Joe Gerace for his 24 years of service. A commendation read aloud by Borrello detailed some of Gerace's numerous accomplishments in the position. P-J photo by Eric Zavinsk

MAYVILLE — There was a lot of recognition to go around at the final Chautauqua County Legislature meeting of 2018 as County Executive George Borrello and legislators celebrated outgoing Sheriff Joe Gerace, the Jamestown High School Marching Band, Panama Central School Girls Cross Country team and the life of former legislator Lula Taylor, who died in March.

Gerace is currently finishing his final term before Republican sheriff-elect Jim Quattrone begins his term starting in 2019. After having spent 24 years serving Chautauqua County as sheriff, Borrello and Legislature Chairman PJ Wendel delivered the sheriff a commendation celebrating his accomplishments.

The sheriff’s career in law enforcement began in 1978, and he was elected as sheriff in 1995. An EMT program for deputies, a county-wide public safety communication system, Wanted in Chautauqua County program, welfare fraud investigation program, anti-drunk program, emergency medical dispatch program and Smart 911 program are some public safety advancements that have been developed under Gerace’s leadership.

He has overseen the office’s state accreditation, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and development of the forensic identification team.

“It’s been an absolute honor to serve the people of Chautauqua County,” Gerace said. “I want to commend all those that have taken elected offices. It’s something that isn’t easy to do and not always appreciated … but I appreciate everything you do and have done.”

The Jamestown High School Marching Band was honored for winning the state championship in October. Panama Central School varsity athletes were also recognized for their accomplishments on the girls cross country team.

Legislator David Wilfong, R-Jamestown, presented a memorial statement for former legislator Lula Mae Taylor, who served for 14 years. She died March 27 and was honored by the legislature for end-of-the-year remembrances.

“Lula served as the first woman chairperson of the Jamestown Democratic Committe, ran for District 11 county legislator, the seat that I now hold, and became the first African American woman in New York State to hold a county legislative seat,” Wilfong said. “She will be missed by all the residents of Jamestown.”

She hosted the first AIDS awareness forum in the county, formed the Chautauqua Black History Committee with her husband and was awarded the DeWitt Clinton Award for excellence in community service. At the time of her death, she was survived by her husband, Vivian Taylor, of 67 years and her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.