The Putnam County Legislature confirmed the appointment of Anthony W. Sutton as the acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services at a special meeting held on Tuesday, May 12.
The commissioner position has been vacant since January when County Executive MaryEllen Odell decided not to reappoint former Commissioner Adam Steibeling. Robert Lipton, Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services, has been performing the duties of his job as well as that of interim commissioner, while the Legislature decided whether to fill the position. The Legislature voted 8-0-1 to appoint Sutton in an acting capacity until pending litigation with Steibeling is resolved.
“As elected officials it is our duty to protect and preserve the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Ginny Nacerino, Chairwoman of the Personnel Committee and Deputy Chairwoman of the Legislature. “I believe the decision to appoint Mr. Anthony Sutton, as Commissioner of Emergency Services, in an acting capacity, clearly speaks to our Legislative priorities. My colleagues and I recognize having strong leadership at the Bureau, without further delay, is paramount. Putnam County is fortunate to have someone of Mr. Sutton’s caliber on board.”
Sutton has a professional history in emergency service management. He served as the Deputy Director for Operations in the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at the New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (DHSES) from 2012 to 2014 where he directed NYS Emergency Operations Center activities for more than two months during Super Storm Sandy.
Sutton’s time in emergency services includes serving as a volunteer firefighter, as a Fire District Manager and consultant. Over the years, he has overseen Fire Training, Emergency Communications and Emergency Management as well as the oversight of Special Operations Teams and management of numerous disasters at both the county and state levels.
From 2000 to 2003, Sutton was the Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services for Westchester County. He then served as Commissioner from 2003 to 2011, managing more than 300 career and volunteer Emergency Services members.
At the 2015 State of the County address in March, Odell named Sutton as her choice to hold the commissioner position in its full capacity. The selection of Sutton came after a special Selection Committee, primarily comprised of first responders, was charged with the task of finding a qualified leader to head up the Bureau.
“I am pleased to see that the Legislature is no longer willing to let litigation hold the county back from moving forward,” said Odell. “Commissioner Sutton brings knowledge and expertise to the Bureau, which it had been lacking for too long. I appreciate all the work Bob Lipton has been doing for the Bureau over the past few months. I know that Tony and Bob will make a great team.
Sutton’s new role is effective Tuesday, May 26.
“I am honored that the Legislature agrees with County Executive Odell and has confirmed me to lead the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. I believe my public safety career has prepared me to take on this critical responsibility,” said Sutton. “I am committed to utilize all my experience as I assume my role and I look forward to building on the proven success of the Putnam Bureau of Emergency Services.