BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Carl Zeilman, Saratoga County’s Director of Emergency Management is leaving his post Wednesday, October 26, ending a nearly nine-year tenure. During his time in office, Zeilman steered the county through the COVID-19 pandemic and several severe weather-related events and oversaw significant upgrades made to the County’s 800 MHz radio and computer-aided dispatching systems.

“I am proud to have built and led an emergency management office that is respected statewide, and I am confident that our team of professionals will continue to serve the people of Saratoga County,” said Zeilman.

Zeilman, 46, is an active United States Navy Reservist and serves as the assistant officer-in-charge of a public affairs unit when not working in Saratoga County. An open search for a full-time successor will begin immediately, county officials said.

“Commissioner Zeilman has been an exceptional leader serving for nearly a decade as our emergency management director. Whether overseeing a response to a severe weather event or assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic, he consistently put the residents of Saratoga County and their well-being first. I would like to thank him for his years of service and wish him nothing but the best in his role and all future endeavors,” said Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, Theodore T. Kusnierz, Jr.

The Saratoga County Office of Emergency Management is mainly responsible for protecting life and property during disasters and emergencies. The office does this through comprehensive emergency planning encompassing preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery.

“He built the office of emergency management and brought us into the next generation,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo. “He has done a tremendous job elevating the department and most importantly serving the residents of Saratoga County. We thank him for his years of dedicated service to the community.”

Zeilman said his biggest accomplishment was guiding the county’s COVID-19 response and recovery effort. “A pandemic like COVID-19 is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our response which included personal protective equipment distribution to being the first county in the country to conduct in-home COVID vaccinations was mirrored by other emergency management offices. In my view this was a big success,” said Zeilman.

During his tenure, Zeilman successfully negotiated the co-location of cellular equipment on county-owned towers with wireless carriers in the northern part of the county, bringing wireless coverage to the Sacandaga Lake region and earning statewide accreditation under New York State’s Emergency Management Association (NYSEMA) and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), one of the first counties to do so in the state.

Emergency management allocates resources to 33 fire departments, 12 EMS agencies, seven local police agencies, and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. Zeilman said an announcement regarding his future plans will be forthcoming.