Schenectady County

Schenectady County picks new emergency management director

Schenectady Police Detective Mark LaViolette will take over as the county’s emergency management dir

Schenectady Police Detective Mark LaViolette will take over as the county’s emergency management director immediately following his retirement from the force in mid-June.

LaViolette, 41, will replace John Nuzback, who has served as both the director and county fire coordinator since Thomas Constantine abruptly left the position in November. The 20-year veteran was selected by county Manager Kathleen Rooney, and his selection for the job was unanimously approved by members of the Schenectady County Legislature during their meeting Tuesday.

“He certainly has the appropriate background for that position,” Chairwoman Susan Savage said of LaViolette’s appointment Wednesday.

Savage said LaViolette was chosen from a pool of three candidates. The position has a $60,750 salary.

Nuzback also lauded the selection. He said LaViolette’s extensive background in law enforcement would complement his own experience as a firefighter and emergency medical technician.

In addition, Nuzback said that the appointment will help reduce some of the workload he has had serving in both roles. With a full-time director on board, he said, he could focus his full attention on coordinating the county’s various fire agencies.

“It’ll take pressure off me,” he said. “Covering both jobs is difficult.”

LaViolette, a Schenectady native, now serves with the Police Department’s special investigation unit. He was hired by the Schenectady police in 1990.

LaViolette said that he hopes to make a seamless transition to his new position, which will begin on June 14. He added that he plans to focus a good deal of his efforts on seeking out grant opportunities in order to improve the county’s preparedness.

“I’m very excited to jump in and move forward with it,” he said of the job.

He also stressed a desire to get all of the county’s emergency responders on the same page. He looks forward to implementing a consolidated emergency dispatching service across the county.

“It’s a good fit,” he said. “It gets everybody on the same page of music.”

LaViolette will become the county’s third emergency management director in less than two years. The post remained vacant for several months following William VanHoesen’s retirement in 2008 before it was eventually filled by Constantine in March 2009.

Constantine, a former Niskayuna police detective, stayed on the job for eight months before taking a job as Union College’s head of campus safety. At the time, he said he took the job at Union based on his desire to work at the college since retiring from the police.

LaViolette is a ranking member of the Schenectady County Conservative Party’s executive board. He was elected vice-chairman of the Glenville Conservatives in 2006 and has occupied the position ever since.

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