‘A New Vision’

Wendel Sworn Into County Executive Position

PJ Wendel being sworn in as county executive during the organizational meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature Thursday. Last month, Wendel was recommended to be the next county executive by the Chautauqua County Republican Party Committee, which was approved by the county Legislature. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County has a new county executive.

On Thursday, the Chautauqua County Legislature held its annual organizational meeting and former legislative chairman PJ Wendel was sworn in as the new county executive.

Following the November election victory by former County Executive George Borrello to fill the vacancy in the 57th State Senate District, Wendel was recommended last month to be the next county executive by the Chautauqua County Republican Party Committee. The legislature approved the recommendation on Thursday.

Wendel, R-Lakewood, was first elected to the county Legislature in 2012. He has been chairman of the legislature for the past two years. He previously chaired the legislature Public Safety Committee. He has also been a member of the Administrative Services and Audit and Control committees.

Wendel said he is humbled and honored to have been elected by the legislature to be the next county executive. He said he will continue the initiatives started by Borrello while bring his own ideas to the table.

“It’s a new vision for Chautauqua County,” he said. “We’re going to move forward in Chautauqua County.”

The new county executive said he is committed to the new position. He discussed how he just doesn’t plan to finish out the year as county executive, but will be running for the special election in November to finish Borrello’s original four-year term in 2021. He added that he also plans to run again for county executive in 2021 for the next four-year term.

“That’s my commitment. I’m going to be here for the next five years,” he said.

In a news release, Norm Green, Chautauqua County Democratic Committee chairman and county Democratic election commissioner, said the Democratic party will have a candidate to oppose the GOP candidate in the county executive special election that will take place Nov. 3.

“We are actively interviewing candidates for the county’s top job,” Green said. “The first day to circulate designating petitions in the county is Feb. 25.”

In August, the county Legislature passed a local law detailing how a vacancy of the county executive office should be filled. In case of a vacancy, the appointment of the next county executive should be a member of the same political party. Borrello is a Republican so the next county executive also needed to be a member of the GOP, like Wendel.

County Attorney Stephen Abdella had served as the acting county executive since Nov. 24.


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