Leadership, Compassion, Progress, Care; Delivering Results for Our Community
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. I am a twenty-plus year resident of the Town of Manlius. My wife Lisa and I have raised two beautiful children, Michael James and Jenna Rae, in Fremont. This Town has provided a great environment for them to grow, learn, and play. This may be a bit of a long read, but I feel it is important to give you this information as it demonstrates my experiences and understanding of the struggles that young families experience in Central New York.
I was born and raised just a brief trip down the NYS Thruway in Utica New York. I come from a family of public servants ranging from military, police, fire, school, nursing, farming and hospitality. I attended primary schooling in the Utica City School District. Transferring from T.R. Proctor High School in tenth grade, I attended my last two years at New Hartford Central High School, graduating in 1999. I attended Mohawk Valley Community College for one semester. I had no financial support other than working full-time, so I decided to put college on hold. I knew that I wanted to obtain a civil service job as a Police Officer or Firefighter, so I focused on taking civil service tests and holding steady work. I worked in service, hospitality and manual labor before obtaining a position with United Healthcare as a Customer Service Representative at their Utica call center. Here is where I met my wife who was recently laid-off by US Air in Syracuse as a result of 9/11. We married within in a year and welcomed our first son Michael James. Shortly after giving birth to our son, my wife became ill. Requiring specialized medical services, she was transferred to Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. As a young couple with an infant child, we could not endure the financial hardship of maintaining an apartment, and utilities, losing one parent's income - while that parent was receiving inpatient care to save her life, we decided to move in with my in-laws, James and Suzanne Wafer of Fremont. After nearly ten months in the hospital - inpatient and out, my wife was released, her life was saved and we decided to stay in the Town of Manlius.
Upon relocating to the Town of Manlius, I almost immediately started a life of public service by volunteering with the Minoa Fire Department. There, I served the residents of the Village and the Town as a Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for sixteen years. During that time I held positions that allowed me to enhance safety to our town including promotion to Fire Lieutenant, County Fire Instructor, Department Training Officer, and Hazardous Materials Coordinator. Tasked with overseeing the department's training program, I was responsible for the training budget and worked hard to modernize and enhance the emergency preparedness training for our Firefighters and EMT's, including a project to provide a training room that could comfortably accommodate the department membership and incorporate new technology to facilitate greater learning. Coordinating training with the other Town departments as well as those in our neighboring towns of DeWitt and Sullivan, helped to enhance safety by creating shared and consistent policies and procedures that created more timely and coordinated responses, and improved comradery. As the Hazardous Materials Coordinator, I spent countless hours training, learning and planning responses to the CSX DeWitt main yard that spans our town from Kirkville to Fremont. The immediate concentration was the increased transport of crude oil that would travel through our town and be parked for specific periods of time between the Villages of Minoa and East Syracuse. I also arranged for the first passenger train safety and rescue training held by the Minoa Fire Department, CSX, and Amtrack. This training included our town Police Department, several mutual aide agencies, the Onondaga County Office of Emergency Management, and the Department of Emergency Communications. I also served on the Town of Manlius Critical Response Committee.
While working as a Public Safety Dispatcher for Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communication - E911, I was canvassed, and hired by the City of Utica Fire Department. I attended the Utica Fire Academy in 2008 and graduated in the top of my class. It was my dream to work with the men and women of the City of Utica Bureau of Fire. I worked there for three years before transferring to the Manlius Fire Department in 2011 to avoid potential lay-offs.
I worked for the Manlius Fire Department as a Firefighter-Paramedic, also holding the positions of Municipal Fire Instructor, Continuous Medical Education Evaluator, Professional Standards Officer, Respiratory Protection Officer, Codes Compliance Technician, and Tactical Medical Officer. As the Professional Standards Officer, I was responsible for creating and maintaining a program that ensured compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. This initial task spanned for over two years and led to the Manlius Fire Department being the first department in the town to achieve an ISO-2 rating. This had a tremendous impact to the residents of the Manlius Fire District. If you aren't familiar, to measure the fire readiness of a community, insurers look to ISO ratings, which are determined using factors like the water supply and emergency communication systems in a specific area. These variables can have a significant impact on what you pay for homeowners insurance. As the Tactical Medical Officer, I was responsible for plaining and executing trainings to ensure preparedness to active shooter events in our schools as well as other places of gathering. We conducted several trainings with the town fire and police departments as well as other mutual aide departments. I received national certification for response to active shooter incidents from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. I also participated in the largest active shooter training event in New York State, held at Destiny USA Mall in 2016. Over 40 agencies from all over New York State participated in this event.
I also taught EMTs, Paramedics, Nurses, Doctors, and other medical professionals - American Heart Association advanced life saving courses including ACLS, PALS, PHTLS and other programs at Upstate's Emergency Medicine Simulation Technology and Training (EM-STAT) Center.
From 2014 - 2017 I served the Village of Chittenango Police Department as the Tactical Medical Officer and provided officers with support during significant events including but not limited to active shooter events, and conducted emergency medical training for officers.
I am also a small business owner. My company provides emergency medical and preparedness training, and consulting services, as well as equipment sales such as Automatic External Defibrillators - AEDs. (www.nesfire.com).
Part-time employment includes working for the Pompey Hill and DeWitt Fire Protection Districts as a Firefighter-Paramedic.
Helping to contribute to the growth and development of our youth is important to me. I am fond of the old saying, "It takes a village...". It was my pleasure to volunteer to coach youth sports for ESM Little League, and Midstate Youth Hockey. My focus was on teaching basic skills, inclusive participation, respect for the game and each other, professional conduct, personal responsibility, and while the focus was to have fun while playing and learning the game, I taught what winning meant, and that losing was insignificant as long as your effort was genuine and great. There are winners and losers, losing is an opportunity to improve. I also served a term as ESM LL's ASAP Director (A Safety Awareness Program).
This is just a small glimpse into the experiences of my life. I have always worked more than one job. Working in many industries including but not limited to hospitality, retail, grocery, warehousing, textile, insurance and sales. These experiences qualify me to understand the wide variety of work that is performed, and the trials and difficulties faced by the residents of our town and across all of Central New York.
The work that I truly enjoy is that of a labor representative and advocate. I have belonged to multiple Unions through out my working life. During my time with the Manlius Fire Department, I became a Union representative and held the executive positions of secretary, treasurer, vice/unit president (Manlius) for the Town of Manlius Professional Firefighters Association, Local 3316 International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO. In this position, I worked with village and town government to advocate for health, safety, staffing, economic benefits, increased public safety initiatives, and participation on the new fire station committee, among other things. I also enjoyed participating in our Union's Fill the Boot Fundraiser for MDA, and through the generous support of the Town and Village residents, Local 3316 consistently landed in the top 10 Locals for raising funds across New York State.
In late 2017, while responding to a medical call, I sustained a career ending injury leading to my premature retirement. While this was heartbreaking, I looked toward the positives, and new opportunities. About a month after sustaining this injury, I was invited to apply to CSEA, New York's Leading Union (Civil Service Employees Associations, Local 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO) for the position of Labor Relations Specialist. After a successful interviewing process, I was faced with a decision, disability retirement, or a second career doing something that was less physical, and that I was intimately passionate about. I chose the later. Now in my sixth year with CSEA, I have served the Employees of Onondaga County, the North Syracuse School District, New York State Employees, and NOVA Ambulance. I have continued to enhance my education of Labor, Civil Rights, Government, and Economic training including returning to school through Eastern Gateway Community College's Online Degree Program achieving a Certificate in Labor Studies with an expected graduation in the fall of 2023 achieving my AAS in Business Management with a focus in Labor Studies. I have also been attending the Rutgers Public Sector Labor Relations Certificate Program.
In 2021, I transferred field areas and now cover my native Oneida County representing employees at the Oneida County Health Department, the Cities of Utica and Rome, the Utica Municipal Housing Authority, the Utica Zoo, 10-school districts, New York State Employees, and NOVA Ambulance. I am also active in the Syracuse and Utica Labor Councils.
The events that have transpired in our country over the past 10-years have inspired me to get involved with local politics. We have experienced very challenging economic times, political division, and increased foreign and domestic threats to our democracy. There is much to do at the local levels of the political system to protect our democracy, improve quality of life, create a sustainable future, and a robust economy that provides strong economic support to our citizens.
There is much work to be done, and it is my sincere hope that we can do this together. A representational government should include input from all stakeholders. If elected, I intend to include you, the residents of the Town of Manlius in the governance of our town.