As you may already know, our Emergency Management Director and Deputy Emergency Management Director resigned their positions. I wish them both well in their future endeavors.
Because of the current emergency, I had to prioritize filling at least the EMD position as quickly as possible. A few weeks ago I was talking about the pandemic with David Becker, a colleague who had worked with Susie and John
and the KVFD during the ice jams emergency a couple of years ago,and has been helping during the last few weeks. He has been extremely helpful bringing structure and focus to the many priorities.
When I was informed Susie and John had resigned, I had to find a replacement who could come to the table quickly with communication, collaboration, cooperation, and organizational skills; emergency management experience and the skillset to navigate the complex and detailed landscape of the FEMA reimbursement process that is to come. David was an obvious choice. In his first 24 hours, he has already contacted our State emergency management partners and completed the paperwork enabling our Town to activate a Citizen Emergency Response Team. (more on that below!)
Some may question why I would appoint someone who does not live in town. It came down to three decisions:
- We are in the midst of a public health emergency. In the midst of the biggest emergency our community has ever faced, I could not appoint a person who needed time to train, build a network and get acclimated to a new role. For our community, we needed someone who already had that.
- This emergency is not geographically-focused. We are not experiencing a flood or other physical incident that would require a person working with emergency services at a scene.
- The technology is available to move to a virtual Emergency Operations Center (EOC). David has the technical knowledge, expertise and ability to manage planning, communications and operations virtually, which follows what the state and regional EOCs have done.
Please join me in welcoming David to our community - he is here for us!