Curt Crandall

Allegany County Board of Legislators Chairman Curt Crandall, R-Belfast, speaks during a virtual meeting Monday.

BELMONT — Allegany County officials will keep the same leadership in 2021 while staying the course amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Allegany County Board of Legislators on Monday unanimously tapped Curt Crandall, R-Belfast, to retain his post as chairman of the board, as well as re-tapping Phil Curran, R-Alfred, to continue as vice chair during a virtual reorganizational meeting. Committee assignments will also remain the same for 2021, Crandall said.

Crandall, appointed to his post again for the 15th year, said during a message to the board that it was impossible to move forward without looking back on the last 12 months — especially the last 10.

“2020 and the effects COVID-19 had on us were one for the books — a year that we’re glad is behind us and not a year we would like to repeat,” Crandall said, and while some would like to just move on, “There have been too many financial losses, emotional upsets and deaths of loved ones to do that.”

“No, we must continue to keep these folks in our thoughts and prayers, step up and help where we can, and remember that we have a long way to go before we come close to returning to what we call normal.”

Crandall thanked county Administrator Carissa Knapp, who took on the job in January 2020.

“If you would have known, could have known what was coming in a few short months after that appointment, would you have accepted that challenge?” Crandall said. “Knowing you as I do, I’m sure that you would have. You were put in a position that no one had faced as county administrator before.”

The chairman noted that extra duties were thrust upon Knapp under an emergency declaration and resolutions, including creating a contingency budget, deciding on employee furloughs, and keeping up with officials from the state and other counties.

“We are extremely proud of the job you have done in one of the most difficult and unsettling years in county history,” Crandall said.

As a result of efforts by Knapp, other department heads and employees, the county is expected to have ended 2020 in the black despite the high costs of COVID-19 response and lower sales tax revenues, “a commendable task that won’t be realized by many of our counterparts across the state.”

He also specifically thanks Clerk of the Board Brenda Rigby Riehle, whose staff not only handled changing logistics of online meetings, but also put out press releases daily on current COVID-19 case counts.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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