Jim Szczesniak is the current undersheriff in Livingston County. He's looking to become the next sheriff.
Szczesniak says law enforcement is something he enjoys, having spent his entire adult life with the Sheriff's Office. Now, he says, he's ready to lead the department as Sheriff John York's successor.
"Each and every day you're faced with a new challenge. I think having that work environment and being able to lead the young officers and make sure they receive the same gratification in job satisfaction is something that I'm looking forward to. It's my public service, that's the payback for the years of employment," said Szczesniak.
Sheriff investigator Tom Dougherty is Szczesniak's opponent in next Tuesday's primary election. Both are running on the Republican and Conservative Party lines.
Dougherty says he's thought about running for sheriff for a couple of years believing there's a need for a fresh face and new ideas within the department.
"Matt Bean, who will be my designated undersheriff if successfully elected, we discussed it and said, 'you know what, we can create a team atmosphere and we can create better public safety' and we stepped up. We knew in our hearts it was the right thing to do and said 'let's do it," Dougherty said.
Szczesniak says he'll bring experience to the job as a 28-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office. Dougherty's been with the department for nine years and calls himself the candidate for change.
Dougherty announced his candidacy in December and was prepared to challenge the 68-year-old York in the primary. York then announced in February he was retiring rather than seek a seventh term.
"Sheriff York's been there for 24 years as the sheriff and anytime you have a leader in there that long, the atmosphere becomes stale. Our morale is at an all time low and that change is just necessary. There needs to be a fresh breath of life, so I think when you bring in a younger generation to law enforcement with the educational background and the private sector experience and the public sector experience, it's a great combination," Dougherty said.
After graduating from SUNY Geneseo, the 32-year-old Dougherty worked in a management position with a local limousine company before joining the Sheriff's Office.
Szczesniak, who is 47, has York's backing.
"I've had the opportunity to serve Livingston County for 28 years. I spent 14 years in different field operations from a part-time corrections officer to a patrol officer to a sergeant to an investigator and the last 14 years of my career have been done on the administrative side. I understand the field operations and the administrative side and I'm prepared to move forward," Szczesniak said.
With no other candidates in the race, the winner on Tuesday will most likely be the next sheriff, unless Szczesniak and Dougherty split the Republican and Conservative vote. If that happens, they'll go head to head again in the November general election.