FREDONIA – A north county businessman and Pomfret Town Justice is announcing his intention to run for the top office in Chautauqua County. Fredonia’s Ron Johnson Sunday announced he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for county executive.
Johnson – who currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Human Services Management, Inc – owns and operates Johnson Adult Homes of Forestville and Underwood Manor of Hinsdale. In a recent interview with WRFA, Johnson said he decided to run for County Executive because he thinks things can be done better in Mayville to help local businesses succeed.
“I’m not much of a side-liner. If I see something wrong I want to wade into it,” Johnson said. “Being a businessman in this county for most of my adult life, I see some weaknesses in our economic development and the way we handle certain business decisions…. one of the things here is we have to support our employers so we can create and maintain jobs in this area and I thought that my experience would allow me to do that.”
Johnson says he’s especially interested in working on a realistic budget. He says that for the past few years, current County Executive Greg Edwards (R-Jamestown) has warned of large budget deficits, only to see the county finish with significant budget surpluses. Johnson says the residents and property owners of Chautauqua County deserve better, more accurate budgeting and he believes his business background can help to get that accomplished.
In addition, Johnson says he believes more can be done to help the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk improve its operations and says that because of his background in the nursing home industry, he can get that accomplished.
“We don’t seem to be going at that in a business-like manner,” Johnson said. “No matter whether your on the side of keeping the county home or selling it, if you’re going to sell an asset, you need to sell an asset at its peak, not at the bottom. I believe that the home can run at a surplus – I haven’t specifically looked at those numbers, but that’s what I do and I believe we can fix that situation. So whether or not we sell it or keep it down the road, we need to at least turn it around.”
Johnson is a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran and deputy sheriff retiree whose background also includes 20 years working as county deputy sheriff and 16 years as Pomfret town justice.
The only other person to so far announce an intention to run for County Executive is Bemus Point Republican Vince Horrigan, who made his announcement in early May, after current county executive Edwards announced he would not be seeking a third term in office.