Mayor explains how Pelham’s emergency operations team works, thanks members

Editor’s note: This letter was provided Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen.

Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen

I hope you and your families are well. I’m writing this particular letter on a Sunday. It seems that even during a global pandemic, the weekends have tended to be a slower time for news, so rather than spend too much time discussing the various aspects of this emerging crisis, I hope you’ll indulge me as I share a little bit about the people I have the pleasure to work with each day.

A few weeks ago, when it became clear that this situation was likely to escalate, we formally assembled our core emergency operations team, which is responsible for managing our ongoing response to this crisis. Each village department is represented on the team: Village Administrator Small and Deputy Administrator Scelza, Police Chief Pallett and Lieutenant Green, Fire Chief DiNapoli and Captain Benkwitt, Public Works Superintendent Senerchia and Deputy Mayor Potocki. And myself, of course.

Each morning, we convene to discuss the day’s priorities. The bulk of our attention is spent on immediate needs, usually guided by ever-changing state and county guidelines, like staffing requirements and new restrictions for residents and businesses. Since each of us maintains our own communication channels with officials throughout the state, the first order of business is usually sharing (and debunking) the information we are all hearing from our various sources. We discuss emerging threats related to supplies, staffing, and sanitation of important spaces. All of this is done while also ensuring that we can continue to provide essential village services. Even during a public health emergency like this, people still commit crimes and homes are still at risk of accidental fire. Their ability to respond with nimbleness and flexibility has been inspiring to watch.

What I’ve found most impressive, though, has been their ability to strategize our response for what could happen over the coming weeks and months, depending on the future severity of this crisis. We’ve explored a range of potential outcomes: What if half of our firefighters are infected with coronavirus? What if we need to rely on other communities for police protection? What if our economy sinks lower than anyone’s expectations? After identifying all of the various complications that might arise from different scenarios, we begin to plan our response with one key question in mind: What should we be doing now to make that future response successful?

And then, we act.

This professionalism from each of our department heads continues to put the Village in a strong position as we respond to this crisis. Of course, we recognize that the future is unknown. Mistakes will be made–and have been made. We know that we will encounter surprises that we did not take into account. But I have personally taken comfort in knowing that the people I must trust with my family’s lives are indeed worthy of that trust. I hope you take some comfort in that, as well.

Omar, Chris, Jason, Danny, Jim, Skippy, Joe and Pete: thank you.