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Niagara Legislature to vote on two new department heads

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Legislature is to vote Tuesday on the appointments of two new department heads, which were approved by the Legislature’s Administration Committee this week.

The panel voted Monday in favor of Laura J. Kelemen as mental health director and Nina M. Cabrera as veterans service director. Both women live in the Town of Lockport.

Kelemen, director of the Child Advocacy Center at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, was chosen Aug. 18 by the county Community Services Board to replace Antoinette Lech, who retired April 27 after 20 years as mental health chief.

Cabrera, who currently works for the state Labor Department as a disabled veterans outreach program specialist, was selected by a panel of interviewers to replace Dale C. Schnackel, who also retired recently. Cabrera was formally appointed by County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz.

The Legislature could not act on Kelemen’s selection until the choice was approved by a state panel. She is to start work Monday at an annual salary of $92,901, which is a reduction from the $108,967 Lech would have been paid this year. Kelemen will have a six-year term.

Cabrera’s resume says she served in the Air Force from 1997 to 2007 as an aerospace medicine technician and emergency medical technical at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.

She had brief stints as a guidance counselor at Newfane Senior High School and Niagara Charter School and worked as a substitute teacher at the Medina center of the Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services before joining the Labor Department in February 2012.

Cabrera is to be paid $45,049 a year and start work Nov. 10. Schnackel was to have earned $43,245 this year.

The Veterans Service Agency, once a standalone department, now is under the umbrella of the County Clerk’s Office.