Tony Palamara, Water Distribution Manager for the Onondaga County Water Authority (OCWA) and Town of Lenox resident, was awarded Professional Manager of the Year—Water Resources by the American Public Works Association, New York Chapt
er duringa ceremony held in Utica on April 23, 2015.
The award was in recognition of Palamara’s 25 years of service to OCWA, as well has his long-time community engagement which includes extended service on the Lenox Town Board and the Village of Canastota Fire Department.
Palamara began his water utility career working for the Village of Canastota as a wastewater technician working at the Village’s wastewater treatment plant. In 1990, Tony took a job at OCWA as a pump maintenance worker in the Operations Department. He was promoted to engineering technician in the Engineering Department in 1998, where he worked on developing water system improvement projects and evaluated requests from communities seeking consolidation into the OCWA water system. In 2011, he was again promoted to his current position of Water Distribution Manager.
In that position, Tony oversees the operation and maintenance of all pumps, control valves, tanks and facilities (excluding the water treatment plant) in OCWA’s 2,000+ mile water system. Palamara is also responsible for the re-chlorination of water and operation of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, which electronically monitors water flows, pressures, tank levels and chlorination throughout OCWA’s five-county service area. “Simply put, my job is to make sure that all 340,000 OCWA water users receive adequate pressures and flows, while maintaining good water quality,” said Palamara.
In addition to his public utility service, Palamara has also honorably served his community in other ways for many years. He was first elected to the Lenox Town Board in 1998, has been re-elected to four (4) consecutive four-year terms since. Currently, he serves as liaison to the assessor’s office. According to Palamara, “at times it can be challenging to make everyone happy, but the work we do as elected officials is very rewarding.”
One focus of his Town Board service has been to ensure that constituent requests for new municipal water service are processed in a timely and legally binding manner. “Establishing new water districts under New York State law can be complicated. There are lots of details. But the end result can be life changing,” according to Palamara. “That’s because water quality can be poor in some areas, so when we can provide clean, reliable water service to residents that can be significant.”
Palamara also has been active in Village of Canastota Fire Department since 1980. He was introduced to the fire service by his father, Peter Palamara, who was fire chief at the time he joined the department. Palamara is particularly proud of his service as past president of the Canastota Fire Company just after the company was consolidated into one company from three. Tony currently serves as a lieutenant with the Fire Department and is a member of the Fire Council. He hopes to focus his service as a line officer on training.