County names defense official

JOHNSTOWN – A former Gloversville fire chief was selected Monday by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors as the county’s new civil defense-fire coordinator.

A news release issued by the county Tuesday stated Steven Santa Maria of Gloversville will assume the $45,000 position starting Aug. 4, serving an initial term until Dec. 31, 2015. His annual rate will increase to $47,000 after one year of service.

He replaces former Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator Allan Polmateer, who retired in June after 12 years in the position. Polmateer is being retained by the county as a private consultant for the county’s ongoing radio communications project.

“I look forward to getting involved in the emergency services field again,” Santa Maria said today. “I really miss interacting with the people I met over the years.”

Santa Maria, 53, who said he continues to have a “passion” for the fire service, was appointed by the board Monday after finalist interviews earlier in the day.

The news release said he “brings a substantial amount of public safety experience to the post.”

Santa Maria served as Gloversville Fire Department chief from 2005 to 2007. Before serving as chief, Santa Maria’s service with that department included battalion chief (2001-05), captain (1992-05) and firefighter dating back to 1984.

In addition to his career with the Gloversville Fire Department, Santa Maria has been involved with other agencies directly related to the community’s public-safety systems, the news release said.

Santa Maria is certified as a Level 2 state fire instructor and previously served as a Fulton County fire instructor for various courses. Santa Maria has experience as a county deputy fire coordinator and previously served on the Fulton County Fire Advisory Board and the Fulton County Emergency Medical Services Council.

Board Chairman Rick Argotsinger stated in the release, “Mr. Santa Maria has solid experience in command roles, and I think the board was impressed with his administrative skills. A county-level department head has to have good organizational skills and be able to follow through on initiatives and projects. Steve’s background and reputation indicate that he can manage all the various facets of fire-service support and emergency management.”

Johnstown 4th Ward Supervisor William Waldron, chairman of the board’s Public Safety Committee, said “Santa Maria’s qualifications and his experience in the local community meant a lot.”

“He will be able to transition in very quickly,” Waldron stated.

The Fulton County Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator’s Office on Route 29 oversees concerns of the county’s two cities, 10 towns and four villages during disasters – man-made and natural.

The director works in conjunction with state and federal agencies to provide assistance to all county agencies, updates county disaster plans, and provides support to fire departments in fire-related incidents.

The coordinator also acts as a liaison to the county Fire Advisory Board, provides fire training and schedules fire, arson and hazardous-materials operations. The position maintains records for fire reporting needed by the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control, and maintains the county’s emergency radio communications system.

The position also serves as county code enforcement officer.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.