Letters to the Editor

Emergency Management Coordinator’s Response

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I am getting tired of people saying things:  Scotch Plains OEM did have a plan.  On Friday before the storm Chief Ellis and I went to Union County to meet with all 21 county OEM Coordinators and to see what the county is doing.  This is standard for all storms because they (Union County) are a strong resource.  Scotch Plains Town Manager was notified after the meeting to gather up key personnel, Police, Fire, EMS (the rep called in), Building department, Roads department and Township Administration.

 I must point out that the Police Chief was not available and the township administrator Assistant went to the police department to get a representative. I even asked where the mayor was and got no answer.  This meeting was called by Mr. Underhill so all department heads can be briefed on the plans and what they had.  Twice it was brought up about the Mayor’s role.  In the Scotch Plains Plans that are approved by NJ State OEM, both township Administrator and Mayor act as the Public Information Officer, since the coordinator is busy during the event.  Mr. Underhill asked and it was explained that the Mayor is the liaison to the power company due to the fact that their liaisons want to deal with elected officials.  Each discipline during the meeting explained what and how they were preparing for the storm. 

As you can see there were no secret meetings and hidden agendas.  Throughout the storm, we held daily meetings (all disciplines) including the mayor, to brief her on the various activities, such as the shelters, warming areas, food that I got for the senior center, etc….and the generator that was needed to be purchased for Scotch Hills.  As I was dropping food off to the Evangel Church, I ran into Councilman Vastine and showed him my phone that I was trying to get in touch with Mayor DePaola numerous times and was not getting answers.

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I was appointed by Mayor Marks in late 2001, early 2002.  During his tenure I was reappointed twice. For obvious reasons, Mayor Malool DID NOT APPOINTMENT. Scotch Plains Emergency Operation Plans are approved every three years by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.  Personally, I have been involved in Emergency Management for over 25 years.  I am a Certified Emergency Manager (the only coordinator in Union Count. In addition, I am certified as a Incident Command Instructor by the state of New Jersey and teach not only to first responders but to municipal officials as well.  I ran a class a few years ago that Westfield, Fanwood and Scotch Plains elected official attended.   

If anyone wants any additional info PLEASE CALL ME!!

Paul G. Malool, CFPS, CEM

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