Ann Gallelli: Winter Storm Reilly Response

ann2016To the Editor,

Now that the storms are over, I would like to offer my perspective from the point of view of a Board member who was also present during the emergency response for the Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy storms.

First, however, I would like to offer kudos to our DPW workers, Police, Fire and EMS personnel who were always on top of the situations as they developed and smoothed the way for the utility repair and restoration crews. Equally worthy of praise is the administrative staff who answered calls and directed information to the right people. Our communications with the residents was hugely improved over that of prior storms. Regular progress reports, including honesty about our expectations, were refreshing and reassuring, if not exactly what we wanted to hear at the time. Our use of social media to reach out and respond was timely and responsive.

Then there was the ConEd response, leaving much to be desired. As a person who also sat in on the daily ConEd calls in the prior mentioned storms, I was more than disappointed in the information being provided to municipalities. Much of it was vague, unresponsive, contradictory and, seemingly meant to keep people happy rather than telling the real story.

After all that was supposedly “learned” from the prior storms, nothing really changed; maybe got worse. ConEd reps on the calls often seemed in disarray. One very big exception to this was the ConEd liaison who was assigned to the Village, Noelle Umbro. She was a constant presence in the office throughout, regularly communicating with the ConEd crews, directing them to our critical areas, following up on completion, and requesting resources for specific trouble areas. Despite her efforts, she was similarly stymied by the confusion and lack of communication within the ConEd organization.

It is hard to understand how, after considerable experience in dealing with storms like this one, ConEd seemingly hasn’t figured out a responsible response plan. They were unprepared.

Ann Gallelli

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