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John W. Pavacic, Executive Director

John Pavacic has served as executive director of the Commission since 2010. Prior to his service as executive director, Pavacic served as commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.  Earlier in his career, Pavacic served as the Regional Permit Administrator and chief of the Division of Environmental Permits for the Region 1 (Long Island) office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and with the Town of Brookhaven’s Division of Environmental Protection as assistant environmental protection director and environmental planner. 

Pavacic’s public service has encompassed the areas of environmental quality, land use planning, endangered species protection, cultural resource preservation, coastal management, wetlands conservation, ecological restoration and environmental regulation on Long Island.  He has been a lecturer and presenter on SEQRA administration, environmental regulatory program implementation, environmental compliance and enforcement, natural resource protection, wildfire prevention and management and public ethics at a variety of seminars, meetings, forums, workshops and continuing legal education courses.

In his capacity as executive director, Pavacic is responsible for the protection, preservation and management of the 105,000-acre Central Pine Barrens area as well as implementing the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan, managing Commission staff and defining and guiding the continuing evolution of the Commission.

He can be reached at or by phone at 631-288-1079.


Judy Jakobsen, Deputy Director

Judy Jakobsen prior to her current position as deputy director served as policy and planning manager of the Commission from 2008 to 2017. A Commission employee since its creation in 1993, Jakobsen began her service with the Commission as an environmental analyst. In this capacity she helped prepare the Commission’s original Comprehensive Land Use Management Plan and its SEQRA review process.

Jakobsen has also served as senior environmental analyst and principal environmental analyst responsible for land use development project review and the transfer of development rights program. She served as the Commission’s interim executive director in 2010. Prior to her employment with the Commission, Jakobsen worked for 10 years in the private sector in the field of environmental consulting in groundwater remediation, solid waste management, pollution prevention and land use planning. Jakobsen also worked on developing and providing technical review of environmental legislation and reviewed project impacts on groundwater as an environmental analyst with the New York State Legislative Commission on Water Resource Needs of Long Island.

In her capacity as deputy director, Jakobsen directly assists the Commission’s executive director with all Commission matters including overall office operation, finances, preparation of  the Commission’s budget, land use management plan updates, policy development, legislative initiatives and staff supervision. She is also responsible for the development and implementation of the Commission’s wildfire prevention, fire weather and Pine Barrens Credit program.

She can be reached at or by phone at 631-563-0306.


Katherine Delligatti, Academy Coordinator

Katherine Delligatti has served as Academy Coordinator since 2017 and previously served as assistant academy and administrative specialist of the Commission since 2012. Prior to her work at the Commission, Delligatti was the hands-on president and owner of a small residential construction company.

In her capacity as academy coordinator, Delligatti engages in all planning aspects of the Commission’s New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy including curriculum, instructor and overhead staffing, student registrations, finance, travel plans, housing accommodations, meal plans and time recording for all staff and instructors. Her additional responsibilities include providing administrative support to the Central Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council and the Wildfire Task Force and as support to the rest of Commission staff. She also  Due to her advanced training in financial management, Delligatti serves as finance section chief of the New York State Incident Management Team (IMT) and has participated in emergency response to a number of major incidents including a blizzard in western New York State and several wildfires in the Catskills.

She can be reached at or by phone at 631-218-1195.


Julie Hargrave, Principal Planner

Julie Hargrave has served as principal planner of the Commission since 2007. Prior to her work at the Commission, Hargrave held a senior planning position in the Southampton Town Department of Land Management, where she reviewed and presented commercial site plan and residential subdivision development applications to the town Planning Board.

Prior to her public service, Hargrave previously worked as an environmental scientist at AKRF, Inc., specializing in writing and preparing Environmental Impact Statements for municipal agencies and private entities. Projects she worked on included multi-billion dollar transportation projects such as the Second Avenue subway and the World Trade Center terminal for PATH service. She also prepared Environmental Impact Statements for the New York City Department of Health Adult Mosquito Control Programs and Westchester County Adult Mosquito-borne Disease Control Programs.

In her capacity as principal environmental planner, Hargrave reviews hardship waiver (variance) applications; communicates with applicants and municipal officials; prepares SEQRA documentation for Commission review; conducts complex environmental and planning analyses; develops and provides reports and recommendations to the Commission; prepares public hearing materials; participates in meetings of the Pine Barrens Advisory Committee and credit clearinghouse; responds to interagency coordination, municipal agency referrals and jurisdictional determinations; researches emerging issues pertaining to potential plan amendments; presents Central Pine Barrens updates to town officials; conducts permit compliance reviews of development projects and enforcement support; supports and participates in ecological assessments; assists in various Commission events; and participates in regional planning conferences.

She can be reached at or by phone at 631-218-1192.


Timothy Huss, Chief Enforcement Officer

Timothy Huss joined the Commission as lead enforcement officer in February of 2017. Prior to joining the Commission staff, Huss served 40 years in various capacities for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Law Enforcement before retiring as major of the Southern District of New York State. Huss has been honored by numerous organizations for accolades including lifetime achievement in conservation law enforcement, achievements in public outreach, officer of the year and contributions to law enforcement efforts in the Central Pine Barrens.

As leader of the Commission’s Compliance and Enforcement Unit, Huss supervises a three-member unit that conducts inspections of Commission-permitted land use activities and development projects and helps to coordinate the several dozen agencies that have law enforcement, code enforcement and compliance jurisdiction within the Central Pine Barrens region. The unit also aids and supports law enforcement in protecting the region from illegal non-land use activities, such as operation of ATVs and illegal dumping of waste.

He can be reached at enforcement@pb.state.ny.usor by phone at 631-218-1188.


Michael Lewis, Enforcement Officer

Michael Lewis joined the Commission as enforcement officer in February of 2017. Prior to joining the Commission staff, Lewis served 28 years with the New York State Police, rising through the ranks from a trooper to zone sergeant before retiring in 2015.

In his role as enforcement officer, Lewis is part of a three-member unit that conducts inspections of Commission-permitted land use activities and development projects and helps to coordinate the several dozen agencies that have law enforcement, code enforcement and compliance jurisdiction within the Central Pine Barrens region. The unit also aids and supports law enforcement in protecting the region from illegal non-land use activities, such as operation of ATVs and illegal dumping of waste.

He can be reached at or by phone at 631-563-9752.


John Milazzo, Special Counsel/Pine Barrens

John Milazzo serves as special counsel to the Central Pine Barrens Commission. He can be reached at  631-288-1079.


Tim Motz, Director of Communications

Tim Motz has served as director of communications since August of 2016. Currently serving in a dual role as director of communications for both the Commission and the Suffolk County Water Authority, Motz has been employed by SCWA since 2010.

Beginning his career as a published intern for the Village Voice and subsequently as an award-winning reporter for The Southampton Press, Motz later worked as a reporter for the Naples Daily News and a reporter/columnist for the Waterbury Republican-American. He then served, successively, as a legislative aide in various capacities for the Suffolk Legislature, deputy director of communications and speechwriter for the Suffolk County Executive and director of the Public Information Office for the Suffolk County Police Department, where he supervised an eight-member staff and oversaw the creation of the department’s first civilian PIO. In addition to his Commission and SCWA duties, Motz is currently an OpEd columnist for the Press News Group and a partner with his wife in the strategic communications company Molehill Media.

Motz is responsible for all aspects of internal and external communications for the Commission and SCWA, including organizing press conferences; writing press releases; fielding media inquiries; drafting speeches, testimony and letters; designing ad campaigns; directing social media; and writing, editing and designing publications, among other duties.

He can be reached at or by phone at 631-563-0396.


Robert Panko, Fire Management Specialist

Robert Panko has served as fire management specialist of the Commission since October of 2019. Prior to his current position, Panko served 44 years in various wildland fire management positions, beginning as a basic wildland firefighter and rising to the elite position of Incident Commander Type 2.

Panko worked for 36 years at the U.S. National Park Service, spending 25 years as a law enforcement and emergency services ranger and 11 years as a wildland fire management officer. During his service at the Park Service, Panko was employed as a federally commissioned law enforcement officer, a criminal investigator, an advanced emergency medical technician, a technical search and rescue team leader and a wildland fire manager. One of only a small number of fire and aviation management officers nationwide to be graded at the highest level prior to his retirement from the Park Service, Panko has developed plans for and overseen numerous prescribed burns and has managed nationwide responses to wildfires and other emergencies.

As fire management specialist, Panko will oversee the development, implementation and management of the Commission’s prescribed fire program, which is designed to reintroduce controlled fire to the fire-dependent public lands contained within the Central Pine Barrens ecosystem.

He can be reached at or by phone at tel:+1-631-218-1182.


Melissa Griffiths Parrott, Education and Outreach Coordinator

Melissa Griffiths Parrott has served as education and outreach coordinator since 2008. She has served in the environmental education field for more than 20 years.

Beginning her career with ABC/Kane producing natural history documentary films, Parrott later became a volunteer and environmental educator at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, California. She then changed careers and became a naturalist for El Dorado Nature Center and then an outreach coordinator for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.  After moving to New York in 1997 she became director of education and interim executive director of Sweetbrier Nature Center in Smithtown.

In 1999, Parrott became director of environmental education for the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, working directly with the governor and offer top officials to incorporate environmental education, particularly biodiversity, into the state’s learning standards. She also served on numerous environmental and education organizations and boards. In 2003, she began work with Cornell Cooperative Extension, implementing state of the art environmental education programs and projects.

In her capacity as education and outreach coordinator, Parrott is responsible for all of the Commission’s many educational and outreach efforts. Along with Brookhaven National Laboratory and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, she has spearheaded the renowned “A Day in the Life” of various rivers and estuary field research programs for local secondary school students, the very successful Barrens to Bay environmental summer camp and Discovery Day, the Commission’s annual Pine Barrens public education event.

She can be reached at or by phone at 631-288-1079.


Carol Sholl-Ostrowski, Administrative Assistant

Carol Sholl-Ostrowski has worked for the Commission since 2006 and served initially as a secretary and then promoted to Administrative Assistant in 2015. Prior to her working at the Commission, Sholl-Ostrowski worked for the Suffolk County Police Department as a dispatcher/911 operator and  in the field of medical insurance customer service.

Sholl-Ostrowski worked for Del Laboratories, Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics in consumer relations between 1999 and 2002 and prior to Del, she assisted in the operations of Craig Harrison Incorporated, cabinet making.

In her capacity as Administrative Assistant, Sholl-Ostrowski assists the Executive Director and the Policy and Planning Manager with the overall organization and operation of the Commission office and she is a licensed, Notary Public since 2006.  She is responsible for the procurement of supplies and field equipment and assists staff with their projects and events related to science and stewardship, wildfire management, education and outreach and law enforcement in the Pine Barrens. Sholl-Ostrowski works closely with the Senior Environmental Analyst on work related to the Pine Barrens Credit program and she manages inquiries from the public on this program, planning and land use as well as a variety of other Commission related matters. 

She can be reached at or by phone at 631-563-0385.


Jerry Tverdyy, Senior Environmental Analyst

Jerry Tverdyy has served as senior environmental analyst of the Commission since May of 2016, serving previously for the Commission as environmental analyst, where he began his service in 2011.

Prior to his work at the Commission, Tverdyy worked in the chemistry lab at a pharmaceutical factory.

In his capacity as senior environmental analyst, Tverdyy serves as data analyst for the Central Pine Barrens credit clearinghouse and its credit program, serves as GIS technician for the Commission office, prepares fire danger reports and conducts monitoring of fire weather, performs maintenance for the Commission’s weather station, assists with conservation easement monitoring and complaint investigations, provides support to the Science and Stewardship division and conducts field work.

He can be reached at or by phone at 631-563-0352.


Polly Weigand, Science and Stewardship Manager

Polly Weigand has served as science and stewardship manager of the Commission since May 2018 and serving previously for the Commission as ecologist. Weigand also currently serves as the executive director of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect the genetic integrity of the region’s native plant populations by ensuring the ready availability and use of genetically native plant materials.

Prior to joining the Commission, Weigand served the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District for 13 years where she conducted a diversity of natural resource management activities including farmland planning, habitat restoration, shoreline protection, sediment and erosion control, pest and nutrient management and invasive species control.

In her capacity as ecologist, Weigand is responsible for conducting and supporting monitoring and management of the Central Pine Barrens in order to help maintain the ecological integrity of this globally rare ecosystem. Aiding in Southern Pine Beetle monitoring, suppression, and education, prescribed burning, invasive species mapping, management plan development, forest health monitoring, and grant writing are the current activities in which Weigand is most actively engaged.

She can be reached at stewardship@pb.state.ny.usor by phone at 631-563-0321.


Shaun Ziegler, Ecologist

Shaun Ziegler has served as an ecologist for the Commission since October 2018. In his capacity as ecologist, Ziegler is responsible for designing and implementing scientific monitoring, adaptive management and stewardship of the Central Pine Barrens in order to help maintain and restore the ecological integrity of this globally-rare ecosystem. Ziegler is currently most actively engaged with aiding in the development and implementation of the ecological prescribed burning program, adaptive management plans, forest health and invasive species monitoring, stewardship efforts, grant writing, interagency collaboration and outreach with the Commission.

Prior to joining the Commission, Ziegler managed the state nature preserve system and ecological prescribed fire program for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Also during his time in Kentucky, Ziegler served on the executive board, steering and training committees of the Kentucky Prescribed Fire Council and the Kentucky Invasive Species Council, as well as several regional cooperative invasive species management areas. Preceding his time in Kentucky, Ziegler completed graduate studies at Indiana University, in addition to working as science and stewardship program manager for a land trust and as a regional ecologist for the natural heritage program in Indiana. Ziegler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology as well as three master’s degrees in the fields of applied ecology; environmental policy and natural resources management; public land management; and public agency administration.  

He can be reached by email at or by phone at 631-563-0372.