DUTIES OF LOCAL OFFICES

Village Officials are selected for the Democratic ballots at caucuses.  Most Chautauqua County towns also select candidates at caucuses (a caucus is a closed meeting of party members within a legislative body to decide on questions of policy or leadership).  All other elected positions at the local and county level are placed on the ballot by way of a designating petitions from candidates who were endorsed by the county, city or town committees.  It is the responsibility of the candidates and the Party Committee members to circulate (“walk”) these designating petitions within their wards. 

Village Trustee is a part-time elected local government official who ensures all areas of their jurisdiction is being maintained and cared for. 

 

Village Mayor is part-time and has responsibilities that are primarily to preside at council meetings and to act as head of the city for ceremonial purposes and for purposes of military law. The mayor votes as a board member and does not have any veto power  (An exception is the Village of Fredonia, where due to a village charter, the mayor does not have a vote).  The mayor also manages the day-to-day activities of the village.  

 

Village Justice holds arraignments, executes information, and issues warrants for arrest; instructs juries; renders decisions in non-jury cases; sentences criminals, imposes fines, etc.; maintains order in the courtroom at all times; supervises the administrative, stenographic and clerical work performed by the courts' clerical staff.

 

Town Council is a part-time elected local government official who ensures all areas of their jurisdiction is being maintained and cared for. All town council members run for office town wide, except Ellicott which elects its members by ward.  

 

Town Supervisor sits on the town council, where they preside over town board meetings and vote on all matters with no more legal weight than that of any other board member (no tie-breaking or veto powers).  The supervisor also manages the day-to-day activities of the town.  

 

Town Clerk is responsible for performing administrative and supervisory functions including processing and maintaining vital statistics, census data, and official municipal and other records; issuing licenses and permits, and taking the official minutes for town council and administrative board meetings.  

 

Town Highway Superintendent coordinates and supervises the activities of town highway workers and the use of materials and equipment in the construction and maintenance of town roads. Supervises snow removal and ice control activities and the construction and maintenance of town roads.

 

Town Justice holds arraignments, executes information, and issues warrants for arrest; Instructs juries; Renders decisions in non-jury cases; sentences criminals, imposes fines, etc.; maintains order in the courtroom at all times; supervises the administrative, stenographic and clerical work performed by the courts' clerical staff.

 

City Council members function as parliamentary legislative bodies, proposing bills, holding votes, and passing laws to help govern the city.  In Dunkirk, the council is led by its elected council-at-large position and in Jamestown, the council organizes after each biennial public election and elects a president from its own ranks.  

 

City Mayor is the chief executive officer of the city and shall maintain peace and good order and enforce the laws therein and shall supervise and direct all department heads and see to it that the duties of all the city officers, departments, boards, commissions and other city agencies are faithfully performed.  Dunkirk and Jamestown are each governed by a City Charter.

 

City Court Judge courts arraign felonies and handle misdemeanors and lesser offenses as well as civil lawsuits involving claims of up to $15,000. There is one elected City Court Judge in each of the two cities, plus a second mayoral appointed City Court Judge in Jamestown.  

Village, City

and Town Seats

County and State Seats

County Legislators are elected by the voters in each of the nineteen county districts. They frame policy, pass laws and conduct budget-related votes.  

 

County Executive serves as chief administrative officer of Chautauqua County.   

 

District Attorney reviews police arrest reports, decides whether to bring criminal charges against arrested people, and prosecutes criminal cases in court. The DA supervises Assistant District Attorneys. It is required that the DA be a lawyer in good standing. 

County Sheriff’s primary responsibilities are the maintenance of law and order in areas of the county not adequately policed by local authorities, and to respond to the law and order needs of citizens within local jurisdictions if local law enforcement is unable to do so.  

Family Court Judges preside over the Family Court, where domestic cases such as child custody, abuse and neglect are heard. In most cases, family courts do not have juries and the judge is in a unique position of ensuring that a fair case is held.  Chautauqua County has two family court judges.  

County Judge interprets state and local law, hands out penalties to those convicted of crimes, and rules on civil disputes. Generally, juries, not judges, hand out verdicts and determine factual disputes that arise in trial. 

Supreme Court Justice of the 8th Judicial District State of New York is the trial-level court of general jurisdiction in the New York State Unified Court System. (Its Appellate Division is also the highest intermediate appellate court.) It is vested with unlimited civil jurisdiction.  Supreme Court Justices are selected for the ballot at judicial conventions.  

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