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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Allegany County is Saddened at the Loss of Former Legislative Chairman Leonard Watson

As  Chairman  of  the  Allegany  County  Board  of  legislators,  I  am  deeply  saddened  by  the  passing  of  Leonard Watson, as  is  our  entire  Board  of  Legislators,  both  past  and  present.    

Our  thoughts  and  prayers  go  out  to Leonard’s wife Marge and the Watson family. Leonard Watson was a walking history book for Allegany County and one of our proudest citizens, always helping to  promote  and  advance  our  County’s development.   With  a  brief  look  at  his  long  serving  dedication  on  our behalf, you begin to understand why. Leonard Watson  was  one  of  our  County’s longest serving County Legislators and was a member of the first Board of Legislators, which was established in 1970. 

In the late 1960s, Allegany County worked to go from a Board of  Supervisors form  of  county  government  to a Board  of Legislators, and  Leonard helped  to  make  this transition possible as he was serving as Supervisor for the Town of West Almond at that time. Leonard played an integral part to help plan and lay the foundation for our current Board. This included mapping the Legislative Districts, Board Rules, terms of office,and the committee system that we continue to use today.Serving on our first Board of Legislators in 1970, Leonard continued as a Legislator until the end of 1988. 

During his time in office, he held many leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Board of Legislators in 1987 and 1988, and over his many dedicated years as an elected official, he served as Chairman of the Social Services Committee,  Chairman  of  the  Natural  Resources  Committee,  and  Chairman  of  the  Special  Building  Projects Committee. As Chairman of the Special Building Projects Committee (from 1972 until abolished in 1978), which was responsible for the construction of the County Office Building where our Legislative Chambers and other departments are housed today, Leonard led the efforts for a very successful project. 

Leonard served on the Board of Directors of our local Soil & Water Conservation District from 1970 to 1993, and in  1970, he attended  the New  York State  Association  of  Soil  &  Water  Conservation  DistrictConference at Alexandria Bay.  

With his love of the land and farming, Leonard was honored in 1981 to represent New York State with an expense paid vacation-study trip to the Wigwam Resort and Goodyear Farms in Litchfield Park, Arizona, where he was joined by other select representatives from each state as well as Puerto Rico.

Beyond his involvement in town and county government, Leonard was a talented craftsman,some of his projects can be seen in the Courthouse, County Office Building, and around the County. 

Allegany County will always be grateful for the influence and dedication Leonard Watson had for Allegany County.

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