When Russett was hired by the Legislature last fall, it concluded a tumultuous process that saw the sudden departures in January 2019 of a director who had been hired about a month earlier and a longtime deputy director, who later filed a lawsuit against the county alleging sexual discrimination. Another deputy director who had run the office in an acting capacity from 2017 to late 2018 was soon placed on administrative leave and then resigned.
In May 2019, the Legislature rejected a request to fill the position by then county Administrator J. Justin Woods, who was soon fired. Lawmakers explored the idea of merging emergency management with the county’s 911 operation, but ultimately decided to keep the offices separate and conducted a search that lead to Russett’s hiring.
McNabb-Coleman praised Russett’s leadership of the office.
“Amy has been an outstanding director,” she said. “Her communication and collaboration both externally with (the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services) and county partners, as well as internally within her department, has been excellent during this pandemic. She has a great reputation with NYSDHSES, as well. I had the opportunity to work closely with Amy and I valued her expertise and input during this crisis. Although we will miss her, we wish her the very best in her new position.”