Community Bank System Inc. of Syracuse has elected James A. Gabriel, a director since 1977, to become chairman Jan. 1.

Mr. Gabriel, 51, owns the law firm of Franklin & Gabriel in Ovid, N.Y.

He will succeed Earl W. MacArthur, 70, who will remain a director.

Sanford A. Belden is president and CEO of the $1.7 billion-asset banking company.

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