SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith expressed his disappointment with the Township's commuication during the violent storm that took place on Saturday, June 29.
The mayor interrupted Township Manager Al Mirabella’s report on Scotch Plains's response to the surprisingly strong storm that brought down branches and even entire trees and also caused power outages.
"I think the men of the DPW did a terrific job," said Mirabella, who praised responders' performance.
"I am still concerned about how quickly we got the word out. The storm started at about 5:00 and it took until 7:30 to get information out," Mayor Smith responded. "From the perspective of getting information out in a timely manner, I can read a message on Facebook Live. It's one of the fastest ways to get information out... I'd like to make sure that during the next emergency we are not asking who is doing it."
"I think there was some confusion about who was going to be doing Facebook and the website," Mayor Smith added. "People like to hear from their leaders -- the mayor, deputy mayor and council."
Mirabella replied that the "storm was handled well and was communicated effectively" and that the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) discussed the response with him during a meeting with town officials after the storm.
"I don't get my news from Facebook or social media, I get it from the police department and the OEM," said Mirabella in an interview with TAPintoSPF. "The police were responding to potentially life-threatening situations with live downed power lines. That was their priority during the storm. Overall, the response from the public is that we handled it very well."
Councilman Roc White questioned if Township officials had followed standard operating procedures during the storm, and suggested that if using Facebook is not included in the standard operating procedures, it should be in the future.
"We can always learn from every incident," said Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo, who encouraged Mayor Smith to move the meeting along.
To view the video recording of the meeting, click here.