Mayor Kamal Johnson Announces Appointments
Mayor Kamal Johnson announces commissioners, Executive Branch staff, and legal team.
“These appointments have the experience, vision, and commitment to help us achieve a more equitable city.” -Kamal Johnson
Commissioner of Police Peter Volkmann
Johnson is appointing Peter Volkmann as the Police Commissioner. Volkmann graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Mercy College and received his Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Volkmann retired as a police officer and an emergency medical technician with the Town of Ossining, New York Police Department. He served as Stockport Police Chief for four years before becoming the Chatham Police Chief. As Chatham Police Chief, Volkmann has initiated several innovative and successful programs, including the community engagement “Your Cop” program and the alternative to incarceration “Chatham Cares 4 U” program.
“I look forward to working with the Hudson Police, the mayor, and all of Hudson to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents.” -Peter Volkmann.
Commissioner of Public Works Peter Bujanow
Johnson is reappointing Peter Bujanow as the Commissioner of Public Works. Bujanow has been in the position since January 2015. During his nearly four years, he brought a commitment to good government, efficient purchasing and project management, and a collaborative approach. Bujanow supported city initiatives with his expertise in purchasing and effective spending. When the city was reviewing accessibility issues and the possible purchase of the John L. Edwards school, they turned to Bujanow to create the request for proposals (RFP). When the city’s youth department building needed repairs, city council members asked Bujanow to help create a long-term solution. Bujanow graduated from Siena College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Sage Graduate School with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He has extensive and diverse experience in both private and public sectors and recently retired from a New York State Public Authority where he was responsible for the supervision, management, and fiscal accountability of major capital construction procurement projects throughout New York State.
“Through my professional and government experience, I’ve learned how to manage projects, keep costs down, and get results. I’m happy to offer those skills back and contribute to our community.” -Peter Bujanow
COMMISSIONER OF YOUTH MAIJA REED
Johnson is appointing educator Maija Reed as Youth Commissioner. Reed has an 18-year history of working with youth and families in the city of Hudson. Her educational practice focuses on the individual learner even in group settings, acknowledging care and the development of trusting relationships as key components to life-long learning, knowledge-seeking, and community building.
“Children are our youngest citizens. Respecting and valuing young people as well as giving them voice and visibility is of paramount importance to me in all of the work I do.” -Maija Reed
Reed worked with a wide range of age groups and in a variety of settings. She has worked with young learners beginning in infancy, through elementary, intermediary, high school, and college, as well as continuing education and workshops for adults and seniors. She has worked in schools as an arts educator, in a host of community and arts organizations, at colleges, in private homes and has led education workshops at a variety of venues. She has a BFA from SUNY Purchase, Certificate of Completion Ateliersta Study Intensive from Reggio Emilia International, and Certificate of Completion Foundation Course in Infant Development and Care from RIE (Resources in Infant Educare).
COMMISSIONER OF FIRE TIMOTHY HUTCHINGS
Johnson is reappointing Timothy Hutchings as Fire Commissioner. Hutchings started with the Fire Department as an explorer in 1979 and became a full member in 1981 with J.W. Hoysradt Hose & Chemical Company #8. He served as a Lieutenant for nine years and Captain with Hoysradt Hose for seven years. He also served as Assistant Chief from 2001-2002 and Chief from 2003-2006. He has completed numerous New York State fire training courses as well as several Federal Emergency Management incident command classes. He was recognized in 1999 along with three other members for the rescue and resuscitation of a man trapped in his burning home.
He retired last year from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office where he served for 32 years in the capacities of Corrections Officer and Corrections Sergeant before transferring to the Communications Branch where he retired as a Master Sergeant.
He also previously served for 15 years with the Greenport Rescue Squad finishing his career as a Nationally Registered Paramedic.
COMMISSIONER OF AGING ROBYN WATERS
Johnson is appointing Robyn Waters as Commissioner of Aging. Waters worked as a community organizer for over twenty-five years in support of land conservation, disability rights, food security, and public education. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Teaching and Learning and is dual certified in New York State to teach Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities. She worked as an advocate for adults with disabilities and with the aging population establishing individualized care plans.
“My goal is to listen and act responsively to the needs of the elders in our community and create inclusive spaces that honor their contributions and provide support as needed. When individuals are given the dignity and care they deserve, communities are transformed.” -Robyn Waters
City Clerk Tracy Delaney
Johnson is reappointing Tracy Delaney as the City Clerk. Tracy has been a clerk since 1990 and has been the City Clerk since 2009. During that time she has taken on an increasing level of responsibility including overseeing the Parking Violations Bureau, improving and managing records management, and streamlining Freedom of Information Law requests.
Mayoral Aide Michael Chameides
Johnson is appointing Michael Chameides as the Mayoral Aide. Michael Chameides serves on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, Columbia County's legislative body, representing Hudson's 3rd Ward. He has worked on city initiatives and has also collaborated with state and federal elected officials and departments. He has professional experience with land use policy, education, communications, strategic planning, and operations. Chameides has been a vocal advocate for affordable housing, public transportation, immigrant rights, and increasing public access to public land.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to support Mayor Johnson and the city of Hudson. I am deeply moved by his commitment for an equitable city.”
Johnson is appointing Cheryl Roberts as Corporation Counsel—Jeff Baker, Victoria Polidoro, Zoe Paolantonio, and Dan Arshack will also join the legal team. The team has experience in environmental and land use policy, criminal justice reform, and municipal law. The team also includes three women, a first for the city of Hudson. While working together to create a more equitable city, each lawyer will have a focus area for the city of Hudson.
Roberts will be returning to the position of Corporation Counsel to help manage the City’s legal work and provide institutional knowledge as Mayor Johnson implements his agenda for change.
Cheryl Roberts is the Executive Director of the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, a nonprofit founded by Francis Greenburger and Roberts in 2014 to advocate for reforms to the criminal justice and mental health systems. She is also a licensed bond agent providing pro-bono bond agent services to the Columbia County Bail Fund, a nonprofit community bail fund in upstate New York.
Roberts is a former town judge from Columbia County, New York, and became the first woman to serve as Corporation Counsel for the City of Hudson in 2012. Prior to becoming Corporation Counsel, Roberts served in various legal capacities for the City of Hudson including Special Waterfront Counsel and Assistant Corporation Counsel for the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission, and Common Council between 2005 and 2011. Roberts also served as counsel to the Hudson Development Corporation from 2008-2015, and the Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency from 2013 - 2015. Earlier in her career, she practiced environmental and land use law and served as a counsel to committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Roberts wrote major portions of the coastal consistency legal brief cited in New York’s State’s ruling against the creation of a major cement operation in Hudson, NY. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Planning and Design and a J.D. from Rutgers University.
“I was honored to be asked by Mayor Kamal Johnson to join his administration which is about change, fairness, and inclusion. Our diverse legal team reflects these values and together we are anxious to help the Mayor and Council achieve their legislative and policy goals.” -Cheryl Roberts
Jeff Baker will serve as Assistant Corporation Counsel. He will serve as counsel for the Common Council and Planning Board. Baker has been practicing environmental and land use law in New York since 1987. He was counsel to Friends of Hudson during the review of the St. Lawrence Cement project and subsequently was City of Hudson Assistant Corporation Counsel to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals from 2006-2007. He has served as a town attorney and planning board attorney for several towns as well as special projects attorney for a number of municipalities. Since 1991, he has been counsel to the Coalition of Watershed Towns comprising approximately 40 towns in New York City’s West-of-Hudson watershed. He is currently the Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals in the Town of New Scotland, Albany County where he lives. Mr. Baker received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
“I hope that I can provide my problem-solving abilities to the City and advise city officials on how best to address those challenges.” -Jeff Baker
Zoe Paolantonio will serve as Assistant Corporation Counsel. She will serve as counsel for the Zoning Board of Appeals and also represent the city on Code Enforcement issues at city court. Paolantonio is a family court attorney who has dedicated her career to working in the public interest. Prior to opening her Hudson-based solo practice in 2018, she served as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, as a public benefits attorney at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC and an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Northeastern University Domestic Violence Institute in Boston. Paolantonio got her J.D. from the New England School of Law, where she was published in the Law Review. She belongs to the New York Bar Association, the Columbia County Bar Association and is an active member of the Capital District Women's Bar Association. She has served as a Board member to WiseBodies and the Columbia County Family Resource Center.
“I look forward to working for Hudson with this progressive team.” -Zoe Paolantonio
Victoria Polidoro will serve as Assistant Corporation Counsel. She will serve as counsel for the Historic Preservation Board. Polidoro concentrates her practice in environmental, land use, and municipal law. She currently serves as planning board attorney or zoning board attorney, or both, for the Towns of Dover and Hyde Park and the Villages of Fishkill, Red Hook, and New Paltz. Ms. Polidoro was of counsel in Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield, one of the first two decisions in the state defending the right of the Town to ban fracking for natural gas through the use of its zoning law, ultimately affirmed by the Court of Appeals. She was also of counsel in Gabrielli v. Town of New Paltz, which successfully defended the right of the Town of New Paltz to regulate its wetlands and vernal pools in the face of a constitutional and SEQRA challenge. This decision established that towns do not have to accurately map each wetland before enacting a wetlands law, nor do they have to forego regulating vernal pools, though they may exist for only two months a year. Ms. Polidoro got her B.A. from the University of Arizona and J.D. from Pace University Law School.
Daniel Arshack will be serving as Special Waterfront Counsel and will be the lead attorney on updating the Hudson waterfront plan. Arshack is co-founder of The Bronx Defenders. He was the President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a founding member and officer of the International Criminal Bar. For over 30 years, Arshack has handled high-stakes and high-profile criminal cases, civil rights cases, and complex commercial cases that require creative and aggressive representation and delicate negotiations. Arshack got his B.A. from Brandeis University and the University of Stockholm. He obtained his law degree from the Antioch School of Law and he completed post-graduate work in Medical Bio-Ethics and the Humanities at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and Einstein School of Medicine. He is the President of the Center for Community Alternatives and has been counsel to Greenpeace and a member of the Natural Resource Defense Council for many years. An avid fisherman and kayaker, Arshack is committed to participating in creating a sustainable environment.
“I have children. Therefore, I am an environmentalist. Especially in the Hudson Valley, how we manage our natural resources and, particularly, our water resources, will determine the quality of life that all of our children and their children will have. Reasonable minds can find solutions to every challenge.” -Dan Arshack