Village officials plan to hold neighborhood and town meetings to plan for future crises; sign up as many residents as possible for an alert system; and distribute vital information on paper, as well online. These were three goals that emerged from a rare Saturday morning Board of Trustees meeting dedicated to "review timelines proposed by Village President and an opportunity for input by the Trustees."
Trustee Deborah Davis Ford emphasized that point, noting that the meeting was "only, I emphasize only to elicit feedback, to establish best practices for future disasters."
The meeting was led by Davis Ford. Trustee Janine Bauer was not present, though a statement was read in absentia. Bauer charged that the meeting, which was annouced to the public on Wednesday, "violates the spirit if not the letter of the Open Public Meeting laws."
Likewise, Village President Alex Torpey was absent. Davis Ford noted that he was out of state for the holiday.
Trustees agreed, without taking official action, that, in reviewing Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath, the Village will focus on communication with residents. "Our misery was multiplied," said Davis Ford, "by lack of information."
The public and trustees will receive a review from the Office of Emergency Management by the end of January. Before that time, trustees hope to engage residents in surveys of their needs and hold meetings to gather additional feedback. The meetings are likely to be organized by the Citizens Public Safety Committee.
In addition, Village administrators hope to see more residents enroll in emergency notication systems, including what is known informally as "reverse 911." In fact, the Village uses the Alert system 7.
Trustee Mark Rosner also recommended that the Village craft a list of residents with special needs.
With much of the meeting focus on communication, Davis Ford noted, "We can't prevent future disasters, but we can mitigate their impact with clear consistent information."