By GREGORY BACON
Chautauqua County Clerk Democratic candidate David Salley has criticized incumbent Clerk Larry Barmore regarding the operations of the county Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Chautauqua County was one of the last counties to open their DMVs. Erie County (June 16, 2020), Niagara County (June 21, 2020), Cattaraugus County (June 21, 2020), Genesee County (June 17, 2020), Monroe County (June 16, 2020), Livingston County (June 18, 2020), and Ontario County (June 17, 2020) all opened their DMVs before Chautauqua County (June 22, 2020). People were lining up outside and around the block. And on June 27, 2020, The Observer Today reported that the Chautauqua County DMV had to totally shut down for the near future because of a directive from the Governor’s office and the fact that they were unable to handle the amount of paperwork that needed to be processed,” Salley stated in a press release.
Barmore brushed off the criticism. “When you go back to 2020, some of the adjoining counties did open four business days before we did, some were three days. Several opened same day we did. If that’s all the criticism he has, I don’t know what he expects,” he said during a phone interview. “Every county opened (their DMV offices) within five days of each other.”
Barmore added that their reopening was guided by the Chautauqua County Health Department and the county executive.
Salley was also critical about Barmore’s recent comment that he runs the Chautauqua County Clerk’s office like a business and was only helping people who had his phone number with personal deliveries to get cars back on the road.
“A government office is not a business. We proved that with the Post Office. A business only serves the people where it is profitable and doesn’t bother with the markets where the profit margin isn’t great enough to justify the expense. Also, when I am county clerk, I will make sure that everyone is served in times of crisis, not just my personal friends. A government office must serve all the people,” Salley stated in his news release.
Barmore did confirm that he did make personal visits during the pandemic to help people, but many of them he didn’t know. “I drove to so many people’s houses, you wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “I didn’t do this for friends. I did it for who ever happened to call me.”
Barmore said at one point he put his phone number on the website but had to take it off because of the hundreds of calls he was getting. “I couldn’t take care of everybody but I took care of who I could,” he said.