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Schultz, ex-Upper Mountain chief, set to be appointed fire coordinator

Jonathan F. Schultz, former chief of the Upper Mountain Fire Company in Lewiston, is on the verge of being appointed Niagara County fire coordinator, County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said Tuesday.

Glatz said that Schultz, 38, was the unanimous choice of a screening committee and that members of the county's Fire Advisory Board signed off on the appointment at their installation meeting Thursday.

The appointment will be voted upon by the County Legislature on March 6, Glatz said, and Schultz's first day of work is to be March 12.

The position is budgeted for an annual salary of $66,296 this year, but Schultz said his actual salary is still undetermined.

Schultz was among the top three finishers on a civil service examination, all of whom were interviewed.

The others were former Lockport Assistant Fire Chief Mark S. Devine and Nicholas A. Schmiegel of Ransomville.

Schultz is currently the Catholic Health System's manager of safety, health and emergency services for Sisters Hospital in Buffalo and its St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga.

Schultz said he has held that post for almost three years and for 2 1/2 years before that held a similar job at Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston.

"He interviewed well," Glatz said of Schultz. "He has the chief's experience as part of a volunteer group. He does emergency services with Catholic Health. There's a lot of excitement about him coming aboard."

Schultz said he has been a member of Upper Mountain for 18 years and will continue as a member of that company. He was chief from 2006 to 2011, when he had to step down because of a five-year term limit.

Schultz said he applied for the county job because of "my passion for emergency services and my desire to bring the emergency services into the future."

He succeeds James C. Volkosh, who retired in May 2010. John F. Cecula III, who was assistant director of emergency management under Volkosh, served as his interim successor and returns to the assistant position.

The two main jobs on Schultz's immediate agenda will be the construction of a new $10 million countywide emergency radio system -- the so-called "narrowbanding" project -- and the update of the county's emergency management plan.

"In line with the federal recommendations, every few years it should be updated," Schultz said.

Glatz said Witt Associates of Washington, D.C., will be the consulting firm to work on the revised plan. It was chosen after Glatz decided to issue a request for proposals "because we hadn't done one in so long."

Witt will have a one-year contract to replace Ecology & Environment, the Lancaster firm that crafted the county's original emergency plan in 2003.

The price of the contract wasn't available Tuesday, but Glatz said the Legislature will know it when it is asked to vote on the deal next month.

The Witt firm had a role in evaluating the response to the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence Center three years ago. "They are the guys who did the after-action report for Erie County on that," Glatz said.