News Release

September 19, 2016      

For Further Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

County Executive Molinaro Announces Public Works Leadership Changes
Commissioner Noel Knille Moving on to International Opportunity; Robert Balkind to Serve as next Commissioner of Public Works


Poughkeepsie, NY…Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced Commissioner of Public Works Noel Knille is moving on to a new international opportunity after serving three years in Dutchess County Government.    As Commissioner, she has led the Department of Public Works through an extensive transformation, established systems for greater efficiency and productivity and has overseen numerous capital projects and planning including the development of the Stabilization Center which is currently under construction and the initial design planning for the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center.     Commissioner Knille’s last day of service will be October 21st.    

County Executive Molinaro said, “Under the leadership of Commissioner Noel Knille, the Dutchess County Department of Public Works (DPW) has undergone significant change with new processes that are more effective and productive.   She has overseen the transition of Public Transit into the Department of Public Works, new efficiencies at the Dutchess County Airport to drive down costs, park improvements to enhance quality of life and has pushed crucial projects forward, including the construction of the Stabilization Center, as well as the groundwork for the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center.    We are grateful to Noel Knille for her leadership and we wish her continued success in her next chapter.”

Ms. Knille joined Dutchess County Government in September 2013, having previously served in various project roles in the private and educational sectors, both nationally and internationally including Doha, Qatar, where she served as Director of Facilities and Procurement at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.   She will return to the Middle East to accept a position as Associate Vice President for a major university in Egypt.   “I am proud of the breadth and scope of the work we have accomplished during my time in Dutchess County.    It has been a tremendous experience to work with such a talented team throughout DPW and I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro for the opportunity to have achieved so much with all of them.   I am excited to return to the Middle East for a chance to forge a new path,” said Commissioner Knille.

County Executive Molinaro has announced Robert Balkind will be appointed as Commissioner of Public Works following Ms. Knille’s departure.    Mr. Balkind currently serves as Deputy Commissioner of Public Works and served as Acting Commissioner for more than 14 months prior to Commissioner Knille’s appointment.    Mr. Balkind joined Dutchess County Government in 2004 as the Assistant Director for DPW’s Engineering Division, following more than a decade of work at New York State Department of Transportation and the private sector, including Dewkett Engineering in Rhinebeck.

Bob Balkind is a New York State Registered Professional Engineer and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.    He is a Registered Professional Engineer in New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.   He is a member of American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Steel Construction and other professional organizations.   In 2004, Dewkett Engineering was honored with the Renaissance Award by the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District for Mr. Balkind’s engineering of Reservoir Fence Restoration in Central Park.

Mr. Balkind has been instrumental in the restructuring of DPW over the past several years and has been engaged in policy and budget development, as well as capital project programming.    County Executive Molinaro said, “We are thrilled to have Bob Balkind step up to serve as our next Commissioner of Public Works.    Bob is a respected leader who understands the operations of the department inside and out and is well respected throughout the community.   He will ensure the positive momentum of the past several years continues and we continue to move Dutchess County forward.”

Mr. Balkind said, “I am honored for the opportunity to lead the Department of Public Works and all of the talented men and women who serve our residents in our various divisions.   County Executive Molinaro has laid out many important goals and I am grateful for his trust in advancing those initiatives, including the design and construction of the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center and the development of a new Parks Master Plan.    I truly enjoy public service and I am honored to serve in this new leadership role with such a strong team of county employees,” said Mr. Balkind.

Bob Balkind is a resident of Pleasant Valley and has been a resident of Dutchess County for more 23 years.   He is active in the community, including volunteer service work with Habitat for Humanity and the Town of Poughkeepsie Cal Ripken youth baseball league.

The Commissioner of Public Works reports directly to the County Executive and is responsible for planning and directing the operation of the Department of Public Works, which includes six divisions: Administration, Highway/Engineering, Parks, Building & Facilities, Airport, and Public Transit.  Those six divisions encompass 395 miles of highways, 1.4 million square feet of county-owned buildings, six County parks, the county government-owned airport in the Town of Wappinger, and the county-wide public transportation system.  The Commissioner directs a staff of more than 180 employees and oversees an annual operating budget of nearly $32 million.  Additionally, the Commissioner of Public Works is responsible for the oversight of the public works projects within the $150 million, five-year Capital Improvement Plan, including the county’s $10 million annual highway and bridge improvement program. He will also oversee the design and construction of the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center project.

County Executive Molinaro will forward a resolution for confirmation of Robert Balkind’s appointment as Commissioner of Public Works to the Dutchess County Legislature for approval at the October board meeting.

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    Last Updated: 9/19/2016