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Despite concerns about selection process, Ontario County appoints emergency management director

Ontario County has named John Yannotti Jr., a former area resident, as its new Director of Emergency Management, effective December 4.

The appointment, made unanimously by the county Board of Supervisors on November 16, fills the position left vacant by Jeff Harloff, who retired in July after 21 years.


However, the selection process and Yannotti’s appointment have sparked debate and criticism, particularly from local emergency services personnel.

According to the Finger Lakes Times, Matt Eldridge, a veteran of the Phelps Fire Department and former department chief, voiced concerns during the public comment section of the meeting. Eldridge criticized the lack of involvement of local fire companies, chiefs association, fire advisory board, and EMS advisory board in the decision-making process.

Defending the appointment process, Victor Supervisor Jack Marren, who chaired the search committee, detailed the thorough review of 19 applicants and interviews with seven candidates, including internal ones.

He emphasized the qualifications of Yannotti, a former Geneva 911 dispatcher, police officer, EMT, and a recent emergency management specialist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.