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Legislators Plan January Hearing On Hurricane Sandy Response

Response and recovery efforts in Rockland County will be evaluated at a Rockland legislative hearing in early 2013


Rockland County Legislators Jay Hood and Ed Day will hold a hearing in January 2013 to evaluate the county’s emergency response during Hurricane Sandy and the recovery efforts.

Hood, chairman of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee will invite the Director of the county’s Office of Fire & Emergency Services Gordon Wren, town and village leaders and representatives from local utility companies to appear before the committee to provide post-event analysis of storm preparedness, response, clean-up and restoration measures. The discussion will center on identifying actions that can be improved or implemented to increase public safety and storm relief as well as lessen the threat of property damage in the future.

Within a 14 month period, Rockand experienced Hurricane Irene and the freak October snowstorm in 2011 and more recently Hurricane Sandy, all of which caused signficant damage and extensive power outages.

“Over the past year, the Public Safety Committee met with emergency personnel and utility representatives to identify shortfalls in the response to Irene and the October storm and to develop and establish measures to improve upon response and recovery," said Hood. "This storm presented new factors - the shortage of gas and unprecedented school closures.  It is essential that we collect data on Hurricane Sandy in a timely manner, so we may continue to analyze our storm response protocols.”

Day said it is essential to determine if changes recomended and agreed to last year were implemented for Hurricane Sandy.

“The committee did a lot of work last year as part of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and the Halloween storm in identifying shortfalls and recommending improvements, and certain representations were made by Orange & Rockland to this community, said Day. "I look to be an active part of an effective post-event critical analysis on behalf of the people of Rockland. They all deserve answers to the hard questions, and rest assured we will do our utmost to obtain
that.”

CR November 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM
"It is essential that we collect data on Hurricane Sandy in a timely manner, so we may continue to analyze our storm response protocols.” Timely manner? I guess two months from now is timely in the Legislature's view.
MitchP November 09, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I'd be interested to know what government officials had their power issues put to the front of the repair queue...like Steven Kurh, our state's newest-former head of the office of emergency management.
Sick-n-Tired November 09, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Just another typical hearing where these clowns will not agree on anything and nothing will be accomplished, unless it benefits a special interest group who votes in blocks. I have totally lost faith in ANY elected official associated with this county and state.
Matt Foley November 09, 2012 at 06:28 PM
The only result of these hearings will be that O&R will wind up contributing lots more money to the campaigns of those who are running things. Dog & Pony show to the Nth degree.
Michael Gardocki November 09, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Will this include the "response" from O&R. They have to, at the very least, improve their communication.
Sick-n-Tired November 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I'm just hoping they are on time for the meeting.
Stephanie Dolce November 09, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Thank Goodness. Will O&R be there too. They lie to the public and tell them they are prepared when its obvious they are not.
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day November 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Contrary to popular belief, the County legislature has no direct authority over O&R, so information has to be gained in a relatively cooperative manner. That said, we would like to believe that the people would like for us to try to be their effective representatives as opposed to sitting on our hands, engaging in faux outrage for face time like a few politicians are, or punting to another level of government. There were, in fact, some inroads gained during the hearings held in the aftermath of the 2011 storms. To the degree that worked here is precisely one reason why we want them back. With a background in emergency planning and response with the NYPD, the timing must be after O and R has completed their post event analysis, and having the hearing around the December holiday season is impractical, thus the early January date. And yes, O and R will be physically present as they have in the past, and both Jay and I (who have not gotten campaign donations from O&R-not that it would matter as we both work outside of government) would like nothing better than for citizens to come down to share their experience, outrage, comments, etc., as sadly very, very few did last time. Please ... We ask all of you to be part of the process, and hopefully be part of a solution. Thank you and hope to see you there.
CR November 10, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Pointing fingers and blaming O&R for a natural catastrophe is not productive, whether the pointing and blaming comes from the public or public officials. I can't even begin to imagine that any entity, no matter how well preppared, could be fully ready to address the total destruction and widespread damage caused by the storm. It's alwasy easy to blame the "monopoly" when Mother Nature calls. Just keep in mind that if O&R was to be truly ready to address this catastrophe, they would have to have 5 or 10 times their current staff. That would just result in ridiculous rate for all of us.
stephany November 10, 2012 at 04:18 AM
"Just keep in mind that if O&R was to be truly ready to address this catastrophe, they would have to have 5 or 10 times their current staff. That would just result in ridiculous rate for all of us." or they could have listened to the weather channel and brought people in BEFORE the storm hit. no need to have 5-10 times the personnel 12 months a yr..as needed is fine. Given the weather patterns we are all in for for possibly forever it might be wise to have a nationwide emergency response team made up of active and retired utility workers at the ready to be deployed in advance of imminent disaster. a small yearly stipend [not included in pensions please] for just being on the list would be money well spent. if they come and the storm takes a rt turn and out to sea it goes-what did we really lose.not much
Sick-n-Tired November 10, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Ed, aside from my smart ass comments in this post I do appreciate you replying to this story but the fact still remains that many residents of Rockland still do not have power. I actually feel fortunate that I had my power restored 9 ½ days after I lost it compared to the other residents who are still suffering. There are two big questions why residents still do not have power. Why didn’t O&R learn from the storms of last year and why wasn’t the information learned from the storms of last year utilized to help us now? You are right in asking residents to show up to make themselves heard but the bottom line is that you were elected to speak for us all. It’s your job to make us heard and to find out the answers to the questions as well as finding a solution. I plan on being at this hearing so I can explain about losing a refrigerator full of food, driving hundreds of miles to fill gas cans so I can have electricity for my heat, and spending more money to fill gas cans in two weeks then I would spend on my car in a month.
Sick-n-Tired November 10, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Like many others I saw all the tree trimming last year. Was this the preventive maintenance that O&R deemed necessary? I saw friends yards decimated of small trees because there were in the vicinity of powers lines ten times their size. Then I saw crews trimming small branches of large oaks that dwarfed the utility lines below them. Then I saw these crews completely skip properties that had no homes but had trees the size of skyscrapers next to the powerlines. There was no common sense with this operation. To top it off I saw a Pearl River fire truck stranded over night during the hurricane in a development because a tree fell and blocked the exit. What if that fire truck was needed to rescue a person(voter).
Sick-n-Tired November 10, 2012 at 07:17 AM
@CR and Stephany. Yes I can point a finger at O&R and they should have been ready with a plan. They are only allowed to be a monopoly because of the nature of their service. There are state laws to protect the consumer from these monopolies but it seems they do not cover breaks in service. Didn’t you see their very expensive web map and web reporting /status site? What a waste of money, our money. I just checked and it’s still not accurate. I understand this is a catastrophe, but this is the business that they are in. In situations like this they should be prepared and have procedures planned to handle these extended outages. This may have been a large CAT 1 storm but what if it was a CAT 2 or CAT 3? Don’t you think they should be ready for storms of that magnitude? They better be for the money you and I pay them every month. Remember they are a monopoly so it’s not like you can easily find another power provider.
Sick-n-Tired November 10, 2012 at 07:17 AM
The question to answer is who is to blame and how do we fix it? I can point my finger at who to blame. It’s the people we pay who plan for emergencies such as this. I can’t blame the guys out in the trenches facing the elements doing as they are told. How do we fix it? Ed has a good start with this meeting but I hardly see the why the December holiday should stop a one night meeting when all the player needed are supposedly committed to resolving the problem.
Sick-n-Tired November 10, 2012 at 07:18 AM
Sorry for the multiple posts but the Patch put a character limit on my rant.
Watchdog November 10, 2012 at 08:56 AM
Ed Day and Jay Hood are doing their level best to try and assess and hopefully improve the response of the Utilities as compared to the some other politicos who see these disasters as an opportunity to bash and get a photo op. Carlucci, Vanderhoef and Gromack Come to mind. The hearing, as Day said has to be done AFTER the utilities have completed their own assessment, hence the January 2013 date.
Watchdog November 10, 2012 at 09:03 AM
Thank you Ed Day and Jay Hood. Perhaps if taxpayers and voters paid attention to the politicians who do the legwork and are truly concerned for the quality of life of our residents....Ed Day was a relentless volunteer for over 20 years before he ran for office...this County and its Towns would not be in such dire straits. Pay attention folks, there are a few...a very small few...that deserve your support. Ed Day is certainly on the top of the list.
ted stephens November 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM
IMO...a very bad storm...one we have not seen (or never seen in our lifetimes) in a long time and things can improve with response for sure but these types of storms are so hard to figure out. I like what I am reading though with things like back up power for gas stations (not sure where the money will come from since service stations are not making enormous profits like oil companies are...hmmm...maybe the latter should kick in a bit here) ...then again there seems to be a lot of anger from people. I can understand it if you were hammered by storm. Good luck to you if you were and I hope all of you at least have your power back on. Was just thinking...perhaps supermarkets should get emergency backup power also...then again....money...or lack of seems to be the words of the day.
DJR November 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I am getting an email from O&R yesterday Friday informing that I need an electrician to do some work on parts that are my responsibility (for example the cable between the power line and the meter, the meter itself being again O&Rs responsibility. Besides the fact that this is ridiculous, why can't they inform sooner? I can't find an electrician at a reasonable rate before end of next week or later, and will be the only house on my street without power and heat. You can all talk nice and brown-noisy about O&R, but the fact is that these clowns have dropped the ball yet again. If this is such an unusual situation, then for the love of god drop the red tape and protocol and just get the job done no matter what!!!!!!! In the meantime I am still freezing and yes, I will voice my frustration in clear and direct words, because maybe that is the only way how they get the message!!!
DJR November 10, 2012 at 02:03 PM
OMG are we a tad partisan here? Great, that will help a long way. Maybe, as a thought, utility companies shouldn't be profit making enterprises, in order to keep funds assigned to maintaining infrastructures and not lining cash-hungry stockholders' pockets?
Watchdog November 10, 2012 at 02:16 PM
You mean like LIPA om LongIsland? God help us......and those that live on Long Isand. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Power_Authority 163,000 still without power http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57547551/11-days-without-power-sandy-victims-want-answers/ Congressman describes conditions as " mass chaos" Is that what you want?
Watchdog November 10, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Just what is a "cash hungry stockholder" ?
Watchdog November 10, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Perhaps that is an issue to be dealthwith between 0&R and the County. Sounds like you are getting a raw deal., Maybe after disasters like this the power company should be obligated to fix all connections from the street to the house. Are you reading this Mr. Day and Mr. Hood?
Kevin M November 10, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I have commented on a number of different post about the storm and O&R response. The bottom line is that any tree larger than your home is a danger to all the homes in close proximity and all power lines that it will come in contact with. Property owners must be responsible for any tree growing on there property and the damage that it causes. If we cannot control this single most dangerous problem in any storm than we need to bury the wires. The most common response that I have received to date is the monumental cost of burying these wires. What about the cost of maintaining these lines and the life threatening issues that they cause. What is the cost to each individual family every time power goes out. What is the cost for the cleanup (in the millions) after each storm. O&R will make the consumer pay either way. I would rather pay for the increase and not worry about losing power every time the wind blows.
stephany November 10, 2012 at 05:01 PM
"Yes I can point a finger at O&R and they should have been ready with a plan." "There were, in fact, SOME INROADS gained during the hearings held in the aftermath of the 2011 storms. TO THE DEGREE THAT WORKED HERE is precisely ONE? reason why we want them back. With a background in emergency planning and response with the NYPD, the timing must be after O and R has completed their post event analysis" before Ed Day comes to the rescue too late and "post event" he needs to explain why,with his background, he did not apparently act before the storm hit. I am so very tired of politicians coming late to the party and getting a pass. i get sick thinking about it. PLANES FLYING OVERHEAD AS I WRITE THIS The legislature has no control over O&R so why the hearings by them. the legislators should be part of the audience not leading the hearing.NO SPEACHES PLEASE Ed Day is thinking in RC supervisor mode already yet he did nothing that i can see to make sure O&R made preparations for the storm.he may be more guilty,WITH HIS BACKGROUND than anyone outside of O&R. when is the last time he talked to O&R before the storm.IMO he should have done more in the way of checking up on what O&R was doing.
Clarkstown life November 10, 2012 at 05:14 PM
stephany....yet again ridiculous.....i am not here to defend anyone, but even Gov. Cuomo has no power over the utilities and you wanted Ed Day to do something before the storm hit....
CR November 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM
DJR - your comment shows that you don't understand how utilities work. Profit exists to attract capital dollars from investors to put into infrastructure. Can you imagine if our utilities were run by politicians and investment decisions were made for political reasons? Can you imagine what chaos would reign if Rockland county were in charge after this storm? I shudder to think.
stephany November 10, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Ed Day-"With a background in emergency planning and response with the NYPD" hello--O&R- this is ed day, rockland legislator with a background in emergency planning and response speaking. could you tell me what extra measures you are taking to prepare for the imminent storm that is coming. We spoke after Irene and I am just wondering what you have implemented and what you haven't. so- to answer your question--yea--even if it was just a phone call.
ted stephens November 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM
It really would be cheaper to get home generators wired in your panels than burying existing utilities now. BUT new construction complexes...why not do it. The generators I speak of are not the loud "lawn motor" type of generators (they do work though) we see but the ones that are more much quite and efficient. I think we will start to see alot more of these IMO after this storm.

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