County Executive Announces Retirement of County Attorney

Submitted by gallagha on Thu, 08/18/2022 - 10:10


Stephen Abdella to Retire as County Attorney


Abdella to Retire After 32 Years of Accumulated Service to Chautauqua County


Chagnon Abdella and Wendel 2

Pictured above from left, Pierre Chagnon, Chairman of the Chautauqua County Legislature; Stephen Abdella, Chautauqua County Attorney; and PJ Wendel, Chautauqua County Executive.


MAYVILLE, N.Y.: -- Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel announced today the retirement of Chautauqua County Attorney Stephen Abdella, who is anticipated to retire at the end of December 2022. 


Abdella first began his career with the County in 1988 as an Assistant County Attorney with the County’s Law Department.  He later served as a First Assistant County Attorney before being appointed as County Attorney from 1992 to 1997 and re-appointed again in 2006. He has also served as Counsel to the County Legislature from 1999 to 2005 and again since 2008. In addition, he served as Acting County Executive in November and December of 2013 and 2019 when there were end of term vacancies for former County Executives Gregory Edwards and George Borrello.


In his roles with the County, Abdella has provided legal advice and support to the County Executive, County Legislature and all County Departments. As chief legal advisor for the County, he has also prepared resolutions, local laws, contracts, legal opinions and represented the County in civil matters. He also provided legal counsel to many of the County’s boards and commissions including the Chautauqua County Charter and Administrative Code Review Commission, Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation Board of Directors, Chautauqua County Reapportionment Commission, and several County water and sewer district boards.


“Throughout Steve’s incredible and exemplary service for 32 years, he has worked tirelessly to provide legal counsel to county operations,” said Wendel. “His thorough insight into federal, state and local law requirements and his uncanny ability to recall the history of legislation has been key to our county operations and policies. His endless contributions have been a phenomenal asset to our County. I will sorely miss having him on our team and I wish Steve all the best in his much deserved retirement.”


“Steve’s well deserved retirement will leave the County with an enormous loss of corporate memory,” said Chautauqua County Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon. “I know he has done the best, and will continue to do the best, to pass along as much as possible. And he has generously offered to be accessible after he leaves to share whatever institutional experience he can that might be helpful for the betterment of the County. His advice, assistance, and counsel, as well as his exemplary service as Legislature Parliamentarian, will be sorely missed by all the Legislators.”


Abdella has also been instrumental in advising the County on executive orders and laws regarding operating restrictions during the COVID-19 Pandemic and with the opioid settlement.


Abdella has also been a member of the County Attorneys’ Association of the State of New York (CAASNY). For 12 years, he has served on CAASNY’s Board of Directors, where he served as President from 1996 to 1997, and has served as Treasurer since 2014.


“It has been an honor and pleasure to serve the county in which I was born and raised, and to have worked with seven County Executives and nine County Legislature Chairpersons during my tenure,” said Abdella. “We have so many dedicated public servants in County government, and I have been blessed to get to know them both as friends and colleagues who are all trying to make a difference.”


Wendel has begun the process of finding Abdella’s replacement. He plans to establish a bi-partisan search committee to assist him with finding the most qualified individual to serve as the next county attorney.



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