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Franklin County board to pick new chair

The Franklin County Legislature will have new leadership in 2017.

Legislators will meet Thursday in Malone to elect a new chair, a position held by Billy Jones for the past four years. The Chateaugay Democrat was elected in November to the 115th Assembly District seat being vacated by the retirement of Janet Duprey.

Barbara Rice, D-Saranac Lake, served as vice-chair of the seven-member board this year. In the past, but not always, the vice chair has moved up to the chair’s seat.

The county legislature has never had a woman as its chair. It’s been almost 20 years since a legislator from the southern end of the county was elected chairman, when Gerald Gillmett of Lake Clear held the post in 1997.

Democrats have a 5-2 majority on the county board including veterans Rice, Don Dabiew of Bombay and Carl Sherwin of Malone and newcomers Greg Janisewski of Chateaugay and Paul Lauzon of Fort Covington. The Republican legislators are veteran Paul Maroun of Tupper Lake and newcomer Andrea Dumas of Malone, whose district also includes the town of Brighton.

In addition to picking a chair, legislators will also elect a vice chair at Thursday’s organizational meeting. It will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the fourth-floor chambers of the Legislature in the Franklin County Court House in Malone.