Memorandum Is A Sign Of Unity For The Lake

This past week, the County of Chautauqua demonstrated once again that we can put our differences aside and come together to achieve consensus in place of our disagreements. Under the leadership of our County Executive, George Borrello, 15 of 16 Chautauqua Lake municipalities and lake organizations signed on to a common strategy to manage the challenges of invasive weed growth in our crown jewel of Chautauqua County.

During my term as County Executive I focused a similar effort to bring numerous Northern Chautauqua County municipalities together to successfully form the Northern Chautauqua County Water District. Building consensus across local municipalities and organizations is not easy and requires extensive conversations to build trust and dispel fear of disrupting the status quo. The tipping point is usually found when the two sides agree to give new approaches a chance to work.

As with recent efforts to merge school districts, municipal services, and other consolidation initiatives, what seems logical to many is often first met with opposition from some. The key to resolving our differences requires respectful discourse, time, and strong leadership. In order to keep our county moving forward we should take pride in our successful consensus building efforts and remain open to more opportunities to strengthen our communities through a common approach.

Vince Horrigan is a former member of the Bemus Point Village Board, Chautauqua County Legislature and Chautauqua County Executive. He is retired after serving as American Red Cross of Southwestern New York executive director for 13 years and a 27-year career in the U.S. Air Force.

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