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Griffith to retire from county post in March

Submitted Photo Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, left, welcomes Noel Guttman as the county’s next Emergency Services director.

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel announced Friday that John Griffith, county Office of Emergency Services director, will retire March 1.

Griffith first began his career with the county in April 2012 as a deputy dire coordinator where he provided leadership and support to the Fourth Battalion, which includes 10 fire departments in the southeast corner of Chautauqua County. In October 2017, he was promoted to the position of director of the office.

During his tenure as director, Griffith worked closely with the entire emergency services community in the county to assist the public and emergency responders. He also continued the success of the county’s paramedic fly car response team.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked with the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to ensure resources were moved into Chautauqua County so first responders, law enforcement, health care workers, and others had proper and sufficient quantities of Personal Protective Equipment. He also coordinated with the county Health Department to provide logistical support for COVID-19 testing in the County and trained EMS paramedics to perform swab testing.

“Throughout his eight years of service, John has worked tirelessly to serve and protect the residents and visitors of Chautauqua County,” Wendel said. “His leadership has been especially critical during the current COVID-19 Pandemic where he has worked closely with a magnitude of agencies to prevent and contain the virus. I thank John for his outstanding accomplishments in improving our county’s emergency preparedness and response, and his endless contributions in making Chautauqua County a safer place. I wish him all the best in retirement.”

“It has been an honor to work with the first responders of Chautauqua County,” Griffith said. “I look forward to working with the new director to help him transition into the office.”

Wendel also announced that Noel Guttman has been appointed to replace Griffith as director on March 1.

Guttman has a strong background in emergency services and law enforcement. He has been a member of the Mayville Fire Department since 1991. Over the years, he has served as the department’s assistant fire chief, company president, EMS lieutenant, training officer, grant writer, emergency medical technician, EMT-critical care, and paramedic.

Since July 2013, he also has served as deputy fire coordinator with the county Office of Emergency Services. In this role, he led the County’s Technical Rescue Team and Chautauqua Area Search Team (CAST), and worked closely with fire departments, counties and state organizations on technical rescue needs and concerns. He also served for two years as an instructor at the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ State Preparedness Training Center in Albany where he instructed police officers, EMS personnel and first responders in active shooter, officer safety, and rescue task force skills.

Guttman has also served in various law enforcement roles. He previously served as a part-time deputy sheriff with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, police officer with the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, and part-time police officer with the Westfield Police Department. Most recently, Guttman worked as a police officer with the Chautauqua Institution Police, where he was responsible for police patrol and event security within the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution.

“I am excited to announce Noel as our new Office of Emergency Services Director,” Wendel said. “I am proud to appoint someone with his caliber of skills as he has 29 years of experience in both emergency services and law enforcement.”

“I look forward to working in this position and continuing to serve Chautauqua County,” Guttman said.

Guttman earned his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and liberal arts at Jamestown Community College. He also has a Department of Criminal Justice Services Police Certification and is a certified paramedic by the New York State Department of Health. He currently resides in Mayville.

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