Monticello, NY – Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek is pleased to announce the promotion of Christopher Knapp to Director of Real Property Tax Services and Loreen Gebelein to Director of the Center for Workforce Development.
“These offices provide critical services to the public, and they are in good hands with Chris and Loreen, who have served with the County for many years,” Potosek related. “Even with the current pandemic, Chris, Loreen and their staffs have continued answering requests for property data, connecting people with job opportunities, and adjusting processes to meet citizens’ needs in a more effective and innovative way. I look forward to working with both of them.”
Knapp has served with the County’s Real Property Tax Services Office for 14 years. Born in Harris and raised in South Fallsburg, the Fallsburg High School graduate possesses three associate’s degrees from SUNY Sullivan: one in Math, one in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and one in Liberal Arts & Sciences.
“I’ve always liked science and loved the weather, so I thought I’d pursue meteorology, but ultimately my college advisor turned me on to GIS,” he recalls. “GIS features a great deal of physics and math, and I understood both. I finished my GIS degree at Sullivan in 2005 and ended up doing an internship that summer in Sullivan County’s Division of Planning (where GIS was housed at the time) under former Commissioner Bill Pammer.”
Knapp also worked with local agricultural expert Rick Bishop, spending three months reviewing and updating Ag District #1 as an independent contractor.
“That put me in the Real Property Office five days a week creating maps, tabulating Excel figures, preparing for public hearings, etc.,” he says. “I enjoyed the work.”
When a Tax Map/GIS Technician position opened up in that office in 2006, Knapp didn’t hesitate, and once hired, he was steadily promoted throughout the intervening years: Senior Technician, GIS Specialist and, as of June 22, Director.
“This job entails a lot more than GIS, and I appreciate the incredible amount of support I have been given from Deputy County Treasurer Kathleen Lara and the Treasurer’s Office staff,” he acknowledges, as his office is under Treasurer Nancy Buck’s jurisdiction (and is right next door in the Government Center in Monticello). “Our functions are interrelated in many ways.”
Knapp succeeds retired Director Ed Homenick and will continue Real Property Tax Services’ mission of supporting assessors throughout the County, maintaining tax maps, training members of local boards of assessment review, handling the correcting of errors in tax bills, printing those bills and the tax rolls, and managing the E-911 address database.
“We are going to make things better and smoother for the County and its taxpayers,” Knapp promises.
Gebelein has firsthand experience with the sometimes arduous search for a new job – and how the Center for Workforce Development (CWD) can help make it much easier.
After spending nearly 30 years in the banking industry (she possesses an associate’s in business from SUNY Alfred), Gebelein switched careers.
“I wanted to do something different, so I used CWD’s services, redid my resume and took a Civil Service exam,” she remembers.
That landed her a spot in the County Attorney’s Office in 2012, and since then, the Hankins resident has remained a County employee, now in charge of the very office which helped her realize her goals. She hadn’t necessarily planned to become CWD’s Director this past April, but former Director (and now Commissioner of the Division of Community Resources) Laura Quigley convinced her to return to the kind of leadership role she had played in banking.
“Laura had confidence in me and wanted me to do it,” Gebelein affirms. “I had been writing all the policies and procedures of CWD for the past five years, and I’m not the type who’s just 9-5 and the job’s done.”
“Loreen’s knowledge of the office, the local labor landscape, and complex State and Federal programs makes her ideally suited for this position, and I know she brings to it a care and passion for people who want to better themselves,” Quigley says. “She will lead her staff of 10 in some exciting new directions, all to the benefit of anyone who walks in our doors.”
“There are a lot of jobs out there right now,” Gebelein notes. “And we can offer not just help in finding those jobs but in getting paid training on the job, learning new trades and connecting employers to employees. The dislocated worker, in fact, is in high demand right now.”
Gebelein and her crew’s goals are to identify emerging employment needs in a post-COVID County and to ensure the Federal funding that pays for the office’s salaries and programs is being maximized to the fullest extent.
“We’ve been determining how to train all our clients online, since everything’s virtual now,” she explains. “We are reaching out to every single person who’s out of work, no matter where they are.”