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LaFlure chosen as county's new fire coordinator, emergency services chief

QUEENSBURY Its only happened once in a generation the changing of the guard in the Warren County Office of Emergency Services. On Sept. 22, it occurred for the second time in 53 years, as Brian LaFlure became the offices new director, the third in the countys history. LaFlure replaces Marv Lemery who for 21 years held the position plus the county fire coordinator post, but retired last week. Les Hillis had held the position before Lemery for 31 years. Formerly the first deputy fire coordinator, LaFlure was praised Thursday as the most experienced, able person to take over Lemerys duties, by county Public Safety Committee Chairman William Van Ness. Brian LaFlure is knowledgeable, very organized, and an analytical thinker, VanNess said, noting that on LaFlures third day on the job, he had drafted goals for his office and had prepared a detailed flow chart depicting the chain of authority. Hes a top-notch guy, VanNess added. VanNess said he expected that LaFlure would be enhancing the coordination of all emergency services in the county. Responsibilities of his post include civil defense, fire prevention and control, traffic safety policy, emergency medical services, and abatement of hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction. In the parallel designation as county fire coordinator, he is expected to respond to fire scenes county-wide and coordinate responses. At serious accidents involving mutual aid, he is also expected to respond and wield authority. The post, considered part-time on paper, pays $15,600. Lemery had sought to leave his post earlier, VanNess said, but county supervisors convinced him to stay on while they figured out how to pay LaFlure, who has another position with the county as the systems support coordinator of the public safety building, which includes the jail, sheriffs department, and emergency services office. This position, full-time, pays $55,000 annually. County Attorney Paul Dusek warned supervisors several weeks ago that paying a county employee for two jobs would make the county liable to pay overtime for actual hours worked. The supervisors responded by making the emergency services coordinator position pay an hourly wage, designating the earnings in the post as overtime at 1.5 times a pay rate of $10 per hour, and and setting a cap at 1,040 hours for the fire coordinator post. The pay was nearly $5,000 less than had been earmarked for the position, but supervisors cut the pay due to budgetary concerns. Thursday, supervisors on the county public safety committee thanked LaFlure for taking the job despite the pay cut. LaFlure responded he was pleased to be chosen for the position. LaFlure has served the county for seven years as a deputy fire coordinator, advancing from the third deputy coordinator up to the top job. Originally from Chestertown and always enamored with firefighting, Brian LaFlure joined the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Co. on Oct. 2, 1971 his 18th birthday, he said. He then spent 35 years with the Queensbury Central Fire Co., serving as chief for eight years. LaFlures been systems support coordinator for the public safety building for five years, starting off overseeing the facilitys construction. Before that, he was a project manager for The Michaels Group, a regional development firm. LaFlure and his wife Nancy and their daughter live in Queensbury.

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