Edward M. Michalenko

Edward M. Michalenko, Ph.D., serves as President of the Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI). OEI is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to environmental education, research, planning and restoration in Central New York.  Dr. Michalenko has administered a multitude of grants, including but not limited to: 1) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for environmentally healthy homes, green jobs training for underserved youth, revitalization of Onondaga Creek, habitat enhancement and non-point source pollution control to Onondaga Lake, and tributary water quality monitoring and public education on behalf of the Onondaga Nation; 2) from the U.S. National Fish & Wildlife Foundation for the restoration of Brook trout habitat and spawning grounds in Onondaga Creek, 3) from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for riparian habitat restoration in Ley Creek, environmental justice, and bacteria monitoring in Onondaga Creek; 4) from Onondaga County for public education and outreach on green infrastructure as part of the Save the Rain program, administering the Onondaga Lake Watershed Partnership and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers involvement in the Tully Valley Mudboil Technical Review Panel, and 5) from the City of Syracuse for the waterfront development initiative. OEI is also the corporate sponsor for the Partnership for Onondaga Creek, and the Onondaga Earth Corp.  Dr. Michalenko is a 2008 and 2012 recipient of USEPA’s Environmental Quality Award.  He received a doctoral degree from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) at Syracuse, NY in 1991.  Dr. Michalenko has performed research on the effects of chemicals in the environment including the Solvay wastebeds, which form the western shore of Onondaga Lake; and mollucsides used to control zebra mussels in industrial cooling waters, sewage sludge additions to strip-mined reclamation sites, and supplemental wood preservative applications to utility poles in Adirondack wetlands.  He conducted the first basewide Ecological Risk Assessment of a military installation at Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL, and designed and implemented the first field monitoring program of an aerially applied pesticide for non-agricultural purposes. Dr Michalenko has co-authored five books and over 40 technical publications on environmental fate and effects of chemicals for the USEPA, National Library of Medicine, and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, and hundreds of records for the Hazardous Substance Database.  After teaching high school biology and chemistry, he also held adjunct and visiting faculty positions at ESF, Syracuse University, and currently at LeMoyne College where he has taught courses in ecology, the American environmental movement, environmental science, and environmental education for teachers. 


After 11 years as Town Councilor, Ed Michalenko also serves as the Dewitt Supervisor. As Supervisor, Ed Michalenko serves as executive to a seven member Town Board, manages Town operations with a budget of just over 16 million dollars, and oversees more than 135 permanent employees across 11 departments including Assessors, Clerk & Taxes, Comptrollers, Courts, Highway, Parks & Property Maintenance, Planning-Zoning & Sustainability, Police, Recreation, Supervisor, and Water.  Ed established Town employment policy and procedures; instituted fair and consistent work practices via the Town’s first ever employee handbook, and implemented annual performance reviews for all permanent employees. He negotiated multiple union contracts with blue collar, white collar, and supervisory collective bargaining units of the Civil Service Employees Association and DeWitt Police Benevolent Association. He was able to implement an annual step program for the Highway Department, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long run. In his first seven years, Ed lowered taxes by 3%, budgeted no tax increase for 2010, and offset the loss of sales tax revenue without an increase in the overall budget in 2011, and increased taxes by 0.5% and just under 2% in 2012 and 2013-5, respectively.  As councilor, he has chaired the Dewitt Solid Waste Committee and Traffic Task Force, and has served on the Engineering, Budget, Fire Protection, and Advisory Conservation Committees. Ed Michalenko designed Dewitt’s tiered Solid Waste Removal System that lowers costs and promotes recycling, helped establish a Town Park at Fiddler’s Green along Butternut Creek, and serves as a founding Director of the Fiddlers Green Park Association. He has been a strong advocate of budget constraint, open government, neighborhood improvements, and the environment. Ed led the opposition against a proposed coal gasification plant in Jamesville by providing the Town Board direction for imposing a building moratorium and zoning change consistent with the goals of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. Ed is currently working on several business development projects including the Carrier Park: Challenger field of Dreams.  In general, Ed has seven major initiatives: 1) maintain a long term budget strategy to continue holding the line on property taxes, 2) development of a town wide network of bike lanes, sidewalks, trails, green space, parks, and recreational facilities, 3) implementation of a storm water management system to mitigate runoff in flood prone neighborhoods, improve water quality, and enhance the environment, 4) expand the newly established Sustainability Policy to guide Town practices into the future, 5) acquire alternate energy systems for Town facilities to lower our carbon footprint, reduce fossil fuel consumption and dependency, and reduce costs, 6) promote and incorporate smart growth in business and economic development, and 7) continue providing an accessible, open, transparent, and responsive government.