Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Andrew Yaniga

Finger Lakes DDRO
Andrew Yaniga

POSITION: Developmental Disabilities Program Specialist I


After 35-plus years with the Finger Lakes Office, Andrew Yaniga has gained a reputation for having the highest of standards – which was one of the reasons he was named the 2019 Finger Lakes DDRO Employee of the Year.

“If you mention Andy’s name to people in the area, everyone knows who he is and can tell you a story about how he has helped them, how patient he is or how nice he is,” says Briana Stewart DDPS2 for the Eligibility Department, and Andrew’s supervisor. “He is never too busy to take a call, answer a question, or meet with someone in the community. While Andy’s role with the Regional Office includes eligibility, vacancy management, Children’s Waiver or anything else that may be needed, he always finds time to assist with things that don’t fall under his ‘normal’ job duties.”

Andrew is the point person for crisis situations in the Southern Tier of Region 1 and leadership there do not hesitate to call him to assist with potentially delicate situations.

“In one situation, Andy worked with multiple agencies on behalf of a young man and his family who were in crisis,” Stewart says. “Despite many challenges, Andy always remains calm and compassionate and his knowledge of the different agencies and staff is an asset to facilitating effective communication.

“Andy is the consummate team player,” she adds. “He is always a gentleman and makes it a practice to let others know that he values their input and contributions and is always concerned that everyone on the team is recognized for their individual contributions.”

When a person Andrew had known for years moved back to the area and appeared at the door one day, Andrew worked with him to ensure he obtained the services he needed. No matter how many times he called or stopped by, Andy made the time to work with him. 

Stewart provides another example: “Recently Andy received eligibility documents for someone who was about to leave school. It had taken most of the school year to obtain those documents and if the person left school without eligibility in place, he would likely be lost and hard to contact. Without hesitation, Andy put aside everything to review the information and get this student an eligibility decision,” she says.

Stewart says. “Andy is a true class act; always willing to assist in any situation and always with a positive attitude. Despite ongoing changes to the service system, Andy is able to stay current on all the Regional Office processes and keeps everyone on the team informed of cases he’s involved with and provides updates as needed. He is a true asset to the Southern Tier and the Regional Office!”