Village of Pelham board calls Con-Ed response after storm ‘abysmal,’ discusses policy for public art


The Village of Pelham Board of Trustees last Tuesday discussed Con Edison’s “abysmal” job during Tropical Storm Isaias and the ensuing power outages.

Both Mayor Chance Mullen and Deputy Mayor Pete Potocki criticized Con-Ed’s organization and response to Pelham’s power crisis during the storm. Mullen further said that although the village had power restored to almost all in the community, the process in which Con-Ed performed this task was uncommunicative and excessively slow.

“Because you’ve got so many different people doing so many different things, in a best-case scenario each of those sequential items gets started as soon as the last one gets done,” said Mullen. “So if you have good management of a response, that’s what you can have. Unfortunately, that is not the situation with Con-Ed. They were plagued by three different things, and we have shared this with Assemblywoman Paulin.”

Mullen cited poor communication and coordination, a lack of staff and inaccurate data on Con-Ed’s part as the reason for the slow response and service during the power outage. In addition, Potocki said that in response to Con-Ed’s poor performance, “(O)ur assemblywoman, Amy Paulin, will be, this fall, taking Con Edison to task in Albany. They, two or three years ago, had agreed to put in eight changes to improve the quality of their work in any disaster they faced just like this past tropical storm. Apparently, they did not implement a single one.”

Potocki also said Con-Ed is offering reimbursement for all spoiled food and prescriptions if a house went without electricity for 48 hours. For more information on the program, click here.

The board discussed a policy regarding the authorization of the placement of art in public areas, such as parks and the Daronco Town House. The discussion originated because of a request by a resident to display their “Pelham Laundry” exhibit in a public park. A consensus was reached that discussion of the exhibit itself would be avoided until a new art placement policy is approved. Trustee Michael Carpenter presented multiple examples of this kind of policy from various local governments from around the country, suggesting that the board examine them and then decide the best approach on how to draft the village’s own policy in future sessions.

Mullen said the number of active Covid-19 cases, described as cases that had been diagnosed within fourteen days, has fallen to three. Both the mayor and the trustees still cautioned residents to follow health regulations and guidelines in order to continue to keep the number of cases low.

The next session for the Village of Pelham Board of Trustees will be held on Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m.