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City Disaster Chief's Job Axed

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The leader of Buffalo's Disaster Preparedness Office has become the latest victim of job cuts as part of the Mayor's four-year fiscal recovery plan.

Since 1997 Jack Sniderhan has acted as the city's disaster coordinator. But Thursday Sniderhan informed WBFO News that he is losing his position as part of 150 job cuts that are expected to occur by the end of this year.

Although Sniderhan declined to comment on tape, he did say it was a "tough" situation for him.

He was packing up his City Hall office Thursday, getting ready to leave his job Friday.

Sniderhan said he is concerned about the future of the disaster officer.

He said he currently oversees a number of disaster preparedness grants and no one will be filling his shoes.

But Mayor Anthony Masiello said efforts are underway to try and keep him on - at least part time.

"Hopefully we will be able to keep Jack under one of the grants we are getting on a part-time basis," said Masiello. "But, also we certainly expect Jack to be invaluable to us in our ability to continue to coordinator the emergency activities of not only Buffalo, but the entire Niagara frontier."

Masiello said that because of the city's fiscal crisis, his administration is working to accommodate the security needs. The Mayor said Sniderhan was "instrumental" in putting together the foundation for local Homeland Security in Erie County.

But Masiello would not say if cutting Sniderhan's job is any part of consolidation efforts with the County.

"That leaves a big void, but we are still talking through how we can fill that void with the necessary resources, perhaps with Homeland security monies to pay for a director," said Masiello. "But also how we continue to make a coordinated effort with the other municipalities in this region is very important to us, and we will resolve that in the near future."

Sniderhan said he has been a city employee for 36-years, once serving as Deputy Fire Commissioner.

In recent years, in his role as Disaster Coordinator, Sniderhan was a key player in city snow emergencies, disaster drills and post-9-11 security concerns.