Skip to main content

William Schutt responds to the call to accept Genesee County Youth Bureau executive director position

By Mike Pettinella

After years of high-level involvement in the fire and emergency services fields and months of overseeing testing and vaccination clinics to earn the unofficial title as Genesee County “COVID czar,” William Schutt has decided to take on a new challenge as the executive director of the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

And county legislators and management are supporting his decision by wholeheartedly endorsing him for the job at Wednesday’s Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

The deputy coordinator of Genesee County Emergency Management Services since August 2015, Schutt has been selected by an interview committee to replace Jocelyn Sikorski at the youth bureau, effective June 20.

Sikorski resigned in January when she accepted the executive director position at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

Schutt said he’s looking forward to applying his experience and talents to programs and events geared toward boosting young people.

“I’m always looking for a challenge and I really enjoy being involved in the community – trying to make a difference and pay it forward – and doing something that will make the community better in the future,” Schutt said. “So, when the position came out -- I knew the previous director -- I took a look at it. It just kind of stuck out with how I was feeling about things at the current time.”

Schutt, a Basom resident, said he talked to Sikorski about the position and her comments piqued his interest in taking a closer look.

“It may seem like it’s quite a bit different but it still involves helping people, just in a different format than doing it as a first responder,” he said. “I am used to working on a variety of projects with a variety of things going on, and obviously, as a first responder, the spur of the moment stuff, and I think all of that transfers over very well.”

Before joining the county workforce on a full-time basis in August 2015, Schutt held a per diem position as deputy fire coordinator for about five years – assisting local fire and EMS agencies through the county’s Emergency Management office.

A longtime assistant fire chief for the Town of Alabama, Schutt was the general manager for Mercy Flight Inc. Mercy EMS, based in Batavia, from 2013-2015.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said that Schutt has distinguished himself throughout his career.

“He is a familiar face to everyone – our quote, unquote COVID czar, who has been instrumental in our testing and vaccination efforts,” Landers said. “The interview committee is pleased to be recommending Bill for this position. I think his passion and organizational skills are well-suited for the youth bureau and the direction we want to take that department going forward.”

The interview committee was comprised of Legislator John Deleo and several members of the Youth Advisory Board.

Deleo, speaking to Schutt who was at the meeting, said he could see from the interview that Schutt is up to the task at hand.

“You seem to be a person that takes something and develops it. So, I’m very pleased to have you on board to take on this challenge,” he said. “With your background and everything, I think we’re going to win this. It’s kind of bittersweet though because we lose (you) from the other (Emergency Management department).”

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein commended Schutt for displaying leadership “under chaotic situations,” referring to the coronavirus testing and vaccine clinics.

“What you’ve demonstrated already on behalf of the community here in Genesee County, I just look forward for even more to come,” she said.

Schutt said he is confident that he will be able to make a smooth transition, especially considering that he has had interactions with current youth bureau employees -- Chelsea Elliott (Youth Court and Safe Harbour coordinator) and Chelsea Green (program assistant).

He said he was getting up to speed on the county’s involvement with Safe Harbour, a state-funded program that supports services to youth who have been trafficked, exploited or are at risk, and already was familiar with other programs, such as Genesee Youth Lead and Youth Court.

A native of West Seneca, he said he participated in local town youth recreation programs growing up.

“I also was a Boy Scout and my son was a Boy Scout, and were involved in sports with the kids,” he said.

Schutt and his wife, Shelly, have a grown son and daughter, and two grandchildren.

A formal vote on his appointment by the full legislature is expected to take place next Wednesday. The position carries a $61,000 annual salary.

Previously: County youth bureau's Safe Harbour program tackles problem of human trafficking

Authentically Local