County Clerk Maureen Reynolds named Shawna Black the chair of the Tompkins County Legislature on Friday. She is in her first term on the legislature, representing District 11, the Town of Ithaca.
The selection was announced in a press release by fellow county legislator Mike Sigler, who had served as interim chair during the first several meetings of the year. He had been set to only serve until a permanent choice was made, but the legislature had been deadlocked on who would lead for weeks, casting several tied votes between Anna Kelles and Mike Lane, both of whom were running for the chair's seat.
“I would like to thank County Clerk Maureen Reynolds for her confidence in my ability to lead our Legislature,” said Black. “I look forward to serving as Chair. Over the past week situations have changed and I look forward to a resolution at our February 18th meeting.”
Once the legislature remained unable to reach a consensus at this week's meeting, the duty became Reynolds' to name a chairperson. According to county bylaws, if a consensus can't be reached after 30 days after the first meeting of the year, the county clerk is in charge of picking someone who will serve indefinitely until a consensus is reached.
Sigler had agreed to keep board appointments to a minimum while the Kelles-Lane stalemate continued, striving to not "exacerbate any strife."
Coincidentally, Kelles announced her candidacy for the NY State Assembly today, joining the race for the Democratic nomination to vie to replace longtime Assembly member Barbara Lifton, who announced her retirement last week (this is likely the "changing situation" Black referred to in her statement). In that announcement, Kelles additionally announced she would no longer be seeking the legislature chair seat.