Additional Information About COVID-19 Incentive & Retention Bonus

posted Feb 18, 2022, 11:33 AM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Feb 22, 2022, 8:34 AM ]

Message from Mark Wasiewicz, Human Resources Director

Hi Everyone,

As a follow up to Thomas Whitney's February 16th email please review the information below. This email contains additional IMPORTANT information about the COVID vaccination incentive program and the initial staff retention bonus. 

If you have any questions please let me know.


How do I qualify for the COVID-19 vaccination incentive?
You will need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Fully vaccinated means you have received the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

If I have not received the COVID-19 vaccination in the past can I do so now and receive the COVID-19 incentive?
Yes. You may receive your vaccination at a local pharmacy, community outreach program or other entity offering the COVID-19 vaccination. You have until May 31st, 2022, in order to get FULLY vaccinated to qualify for the $250 incentive. Submit your proof of COVID-19 vaccination no later than 3:00 PM June 16, 2022.

Will I automatically receive the COVID vaccination incentive?
No. You are required to submit proof of vaccination to the human resources department.

How should I submit my proof of vaccination?
If you have the New York State Excelsior Pass app on your mobile phone you can simply share the information with us. You may do so by following these steps: 
      1. Open the NYS Excelsior app.
      2. Select (click on) Vaccine #2 or #3 (if you received the booster)
      3. Select the "share" icon on your phone
      4. Either email or text to
We will send your confirmation usually within 24 hours.

Option 2 - EMAIL OR FAX
    1. To email, you may make a copy and email your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to
    2. To FAX, you may FAX your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to 716-366-7840 Attention Jennifer Guzman.
Option 3 - Intra Office or US Mail
Mailing address: Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. 715 Central Ave. Dunkirk, NY 14048.

When will my COVID-19 vaccination incentive be paid to me?
Once your proof of vaccination is submitted your $250 incentive will be paid in your next paycheck. Your proof of COVID-19 vaccination must be submitted no later than 3:00 PM the Monday before payday.  Get your proof of vaccination submitted TODAY!

What if I submit my proof of COVID-19 vaccination after Monday's 3:00 PM deadline?
Your $250 incentive will be paid in your next paycheck. Your proof of COVID-19 vaccination submission must be received no later than 3:00 PM June 16, 2022.

Do I need to take any action in order to receive the retention bonus?
No. The payroll department will determine eligibility and bonus amounts for all staff members.

What will be the amount of my retention bonus?
Current full time status staff members with an effective date prior to February 20, 2022 will qualify for $250. Part time status staff members who worked 832  hours or greater between January 18, 2021 and January 23, 2022 will qualify for $250. Part time status members who worked 831 hours or less will receive $.30 per hour compensated. 

Have a great day! 😀
716-366-7792 x212

Retention & COVID 19 Vaccination Bonuses

posted Feb 16, 2022, 10:44 AM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Feb 16, 2022, 10:45 AM ]

Message from Thomas Whitney, Executive Director

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Administration, and myself, I want to thank all of you for the commitment, resiliency and dedication you have exhibited over the last two years during this global pandemic.  You are to be commended for your perseverance in providing for some of the most vulnerable, our consumers, while navigating through the  unknown.  I am proud to be your co worker.

As some of you may be aware, the NYS Office of Mental Health has included Recruitment and Retention Funds in our Fiscal year '22 budget.  They are being paid to Stel through our Medicaid Reimbursable Services Funding.  We will finally have received enough to give a bonus to our staff as a thank you for your hard work.

In the payroll of February 24th, all full time staff will receive a bonus of $250.  In addition, all full time staff who have been fully vaccinated, will receive another $250 bonus, for a total of $500.  Fully vaccinated means that you have received the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.  If you have not been vaccinated or haven't been fully vaccinated, you will have until May 31st, 2022, in order to get vaccinated and qualify for the $250 bonus.  Please provide the vaccination information to the accounting department if you get it subsequent to the bonus distribution date.

The Office of Mental Health is urging people to get vaccinated and is following the CDC guidance.  I am not a proponent of forcing people to be vaccinated, but if you have been vaccinated, or are thinking about getting vaccinated, you will receive the extra $250 bonus.

Part time staff are included as well.  All staff who worked 832 or more hours between January 1st, 2021 and Jan.31st, 2022 will receive the $250 bonus. For staff who didn't work a minimum of 832 hours, they will receive $.30 per hour up to 831 hours.  They will also be entitled to the full vaccination bonus. 

Furthermore, I will be announcing good news about agency wide raises in the next couple weeks.

Once again, this is a thank you for all of your hard work and continued efforts.

Best wishes,

Thomas Whitney
Executive Director

Required Training: New York DMV Approved Defensive Driving Course

posted Jan 31, 2022, 1:10 PM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Mar 3, 2022, 11:39 AM ]

At home and the workplace everyone realizes that driving is an important responsibility. Most agree unsafe driving can have serious consequences.  Each year STEL employees log hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on the road; transporting our consumers to various destinations in our communities. It is our responsibility to ensure that our consumers arrive safely to each and every destination.  Therefore, we will once again offer the New York DMV Approved Defensive Driving Course, 

This year the coarse will offered class online. Manager will coordinate with staff members to complete this 5 1/2 hour training course. The training should be completed by March 31,2022.

Please review all instructions about the training. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Mark Wasiewicz at 366-7792 x 212.

In order to register for the online driver safety training you must obtain a redemption code. Your redemption code can be obtained by completing this online form. Once the form is completed and sent you will receive an email with the redemption code. Please register no later February 28, 2022 and complete the training class by March 30, 2022.


Once you have your redemption code you may register for the class. YOU HAVE 28 DAYS TO COMPLETE THE DRIVER SAFETY CLASS ONCE YOU BEGIN THE CLASS. Please read points 1-5 below. 
    1. Visit
    2. Enter your redemption code and click submit. 
    3. Complete the registration information with the name of the student who will be taking the course. ENTER 715 CENTRAL AVE DUNKIRK NY for your address. This way all certificates will be sent to the Administrative Office for recording and bookkeeping. Your card will be sent to you shortly after it's been processed.
    5. Log in and out of the course at your own pace at


How Online Defensive Driving Works

Simply sign-up and then you can begin taking the course right away! The Defensive Driving course takes 320 minutes to complete, as mandated by the state of New York -  you don't have to take it all at once. You have 30 days to complete the course and you may sign off and on as often as you need. After successful completion of the course, your certificate of completion will be mailed to you. 

Defensive Driving Training at a Glance

Any questions, please let me know.

Vaccination Event Held at 715 Central Ave. Dunkirk

posted Feb 19, 2021, 2:19 PM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Feb 19, 2021, 6:54 PM ]

Jennifer Nagel - COVID-19 Vaccine

On Friday, February 19th representatives from the Office of Mental Health and Buffalo Psychiatric Center provided 20 COVID-19 vaccinations to consumers and staff. Additional vaccination opportunities are forthcoming. Please pay attention of upcoming communications about vaccination events in your communities.

* Pictured left is Jennifer Nagel, Quality Assurance Director receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Open Enrollment Annoucement 2020/2021

posted Oct 14, 2020, 12:12 PM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Oct 14, 2020, 12:13 PM ]

Attention full time and other eligible Health Insurance participants:


It's that time of year, yes open enrollment!

Again, STEL continues to fight rising health costs and continue to provide high quality health coverage for you and your families. We are also attempting to  minimize out of pocket costs to  employees. This year we have made several changes to our plan to help us achieve these goals.

Please see this page for additional information about plan changes, and open enrollment  meetings.

Any questions, please contact Mark Wasiewicz at or 716-366-7792 x212.

STEL house changes address, life for Dunkirk family

posted Apr 9, 2019, 1:27 PM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Apr 9, 2019, 1:28 PM ]

View this wonderful article in the Dunkirk Observer about STEL's new housing development program in Dunkirk, NY. Another example of STEL helping to make a difference in people's lives.

JCC's Career Advantage Program Fall 2019

posted Mar 28, 2019, 7:07 AM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Mar 28, 2019, 7:07 AM ]

JCC is conducting  information sessions for JCC's Career Advantage Program. This program is designed for working individuals who are attempting to balance family, work, while seeking a degree. Financial aid is available for this program. Additional information is available on the attached file below.


posted Feb 27, 2019, 8:43 AM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Jul 14, 2022, 5:05 AM ]


The U.S. Department of Education PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Student Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Your employment at STEL may qualify. 

Please see this link for additional information.

STEL Rallies in Buffalo to Support Mental Health Housing Programs

posted Feb 25, 2019, 10:52 AM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Feb 25, 2019, 10:53 AM ]

Please see this February 24th Dunkirk Observer article about STEL supporting increased mental health housing funding. Great job Gowanda people!

New EAP Service Information

posted Jan 30, 2019, 8:50 AM by Wasiewicz, Mark   [ updated Jan 30, 2019, 8:50 AM ]

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