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Changing of the guard in Allegany County


W. Brooke Harris unanimously voted in as county Chairman, honors Phil Stockin

Sheriff Cicirello makes Undersheriff Mackney official

By Andrew Harris

A major shift in leadership occured today in Allegany County government. If you are one of the voices who often say, “we need a new generation of leaders,” this is music to your ears.

The new leader of the legislative branch and the new county sheriff are both under fifty years old.

Both Harris and Cicirello are lifelong Allegany County natives, both are well-known conservative Republicans, and two of the county’s biggest advocates.

Outgoing Chairman Phil Stockin from District 1 started off the annual organizational meeting by move the resolution to appointed Harris as Chairman. Legislator Ricci seconded that motion and the board voice voted a unanimous approval.

Judge Brown officiated over the oath of office as Harris’ parents Mary and George stood by proudly for the brief ceremony. W. Brooke Harris is the 12th Chairman of the Allegany County Legislature.

The Chairman’s first resolution brought to the table was to appoint the new Vice-Chairman Kevin “Fred” Demick. That was quickly moved by Legislator Fanton, seconded by Legislator Ricketts-Swales. Fred’s daughter Paige held the Bible and Demick enthusiastically took his oath of office.

Another round of applause and enter Sheriff Scott Cicirello to take the oath of office surrounded by his family. Cicirello succeeds former Sheriff Rick Whitney who recently retired, another changing of the guard in Allegany County.

Judge Brown congratulates Sheriff Cicirello with family

Harris took to the floor for a short tribute to outgoing Chairman Phil Stockin his service in the post-Curt Crandall era. While awarding a plaque commemorating his service as the 11th Allegany County Chairman, Harris said of Stockin:

“Strong, level-headed, and of the utmost integrity.”

Stockin, a lifelong public servant and pillar of the Houghton community, focused his comments on thanking the county staff and fellow legislators for the cooperation during his one year term. Stockin is a legislator from District 1 and quipped that now he can “sit back, relax and watch,” the next leadership team in action.

The fast-paced meeting continues with the re-entrance of Sheriff Cicirello to formally introduce and administer the oath to new Undersheriff Walt Mackney. The introduction to the board and guests was a display of why Cicirello chose Mackney for the post. The list of credentials that details Mackney’s career is impressive, and Cicirello has been a colleague for many years.

“We’ve arrested a lot of bad buys together over the years….. he has always been a source of knowledge and expirience for me…”

Sheriff Cicirello with Mackney and family

Chairman Harris continued the meeting with key county appointments before making concise remarks about his optimism for the newly formed government:

“Members of the Allegany County Board of Legislators: Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Chairperson. I am continually inspired by your passion and committment to Allegany County. My promise to you is to treat this new repsonsibility with focus, determination, and hard work.

Foremost I’d like to publicly thank the employees of Allegany County who’s committment to service is the example that this board follows. In particular I’d like to recognize County Administrator Carissa Knapp for her tireless work on behalf of the county. To County Treasurer Terri Ross; thank you for your friendship and mentorship over the last five years. To Brenda Rigby Riehle and staff of the clerk of the board office; thank you for your hard work in support of this legislative body. Once again, congratulations to Sheriff Cicirello and Undersheriff Mackney. Public safety is in good hands with you. We look forward to forging a strong relationship between the board and your office.

The future of Allegany County is bright. We have an excellent board. Within this board we enjoy a healthy balance of energy, wisdom, and expirience. Now is the time to build upon recent accomplishments. In 2023 I encourage the legislature to continue to govern with the same passion and with measured consideration of the true needs of our residents and always tempered by our responsibilty to county taxpayers.”

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