Updated: Scotch Plains OEM Coordinator Terminated One Week After Hurricane

OEM Coordinator Paul Malool has been replaced by Police Chief Brian Mahoney.

As residents continue recover from super storm Sandy as well as a nor'easter that dumped a few inches of snow on the township Wednesday night, Scotch Plains Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Paul Malool, 52, was released from his position on Nov. 7.

Malool told Patch that he was fired yesterday morning by Mayor Mary DePaola. Malool said he believes he was fired because the mayor was dissatisfied with his job performance during super storm Sandy. He added, however, that the mayor will not say whether her reasoning was also political.

Malool is the husband of former Mayor, Nancy Malool who was replaced by Mary DePaola in June. Nancy Malool left her position as mayor of Scotch Plains to take a position in state government. According to a state policy, employees of the state are not allowed to hold elected positions.

According to DePaola, Malool was replaced by Police Chief Brian Mahoney, who allegedly showed greater efficiency when coordinating emergency efforts to handle last night's nor'easter. DePaola further added that Malool failed to include her and the police chief in recent team meetings that were held in advance of the recent storms.

The mayor also said Malool did not have a plan in place prior to the storm.

According to Malool, the Scotch Plains Office of Emergency management had a plan set in place. The friday prior to the storm Malool and Fire Chief Jonathan Ellis met with all 21 OEM coordinators in Union County to be briefed on the county's plan for Hurricane Sandy, which is common procedure for major storms. 

Malool added that following the county meeting, a meeting was called by the Scotch Plains Township Manager Henry Underhill who was notified to gather together important personnel of town. At the time, Police Chief Brian Mahoney was not available so the assistant township manager went to retrieve a representative from the police department.

" I even asked where the mayor was and got no answer," Malool said. "Throughout the storm, we held daily meetings (all disciplines) including the mayor to brief her on various activities."

According to Malool those actives included, shelters, warming stations, food for the senior center and the generator he suggested be purchased for Scotch Hills.

"As I was dropping food off to the Evangel Church, I ran into Councilman Vastine and showed him my phone that I was trying to get in touch with Mayor DePaola numerous times and was not getting answer," Malool said.

When Patch spoke to DePaola on a seperate issue, she had mentioned that she also has no power and her phone is not constantly charged since she has been using it often on other phone calls. DePaola provided this information to Patch, prior to Malool stating that he had trouble contacting her.

According to Malool the Mayor's role was brought up twice during the meeting:

"In the Scotch Plains Plans that are approved by  NJ State OEM, both township Administrator and Mayor act as the Public Information Officer, since the coordinator is busy during the event.  Mr. Underhill asked and it was explained that the Mayor is the liaison to the power company’s due to the fact that their liaisons want to deal with elected officials," Malool said. 

Malool has been involved in Emergency Management for more than 25 years and was appointed by Mayor Martin Marks in 2001, early 2002. Under Marks' tenure, Malool was reappointed twice. According to Malool he is also the only certified Emergency Manager in Union County.

DePaola seemed confident that Mahoney woud be a better fit for the position, stating that he was well-prepared for the nor'easter.

Deputy Mayor Bo Vastine, said the decision to release Malool from his position should have been made before the storm hit.

"An inadequate plan, personal feelings and politics got in the way of him fulfilling his responsibilities effectively and in the best interest of the residents of Scotch Plains," Vastine said, confirming the fact that meetings were called by Malool without including the mayor and police chief. "However, the decision was made not to disrupt the structure in the middle if a crisis."

Malool added that The New Jersey Office of Emergency management approves Scotch Plains' Emergency Operation Plans every three years.

Patch will include more information as it becomes available.

Tammy November 08, 2012 at 11:32 PM
This is truly disgusting. The mayor was no where to be found and gives the poor excuse that her cell phone died!!! She's lucky no person died. To make Mr. Malool the fall guy is terrible. Good riddence to you mayor. And to yeah right, are you a part of the failed campaign? You sure sound like you are.
Tom November 09, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I believe a state government investigation is necessary once the storm damage has been cleaned. The mayor posted nothing until Friday? Why? It appears communication lines were severed and she gives the excuse of her dying cell phone? Now terminating the OEM manager? Is there just cause? If not, a lawsuit could develop. So she is not only appearing to be incompetent but a legal liability as well.
JB November 09, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Two sides of the story, but what is crystal clear is that conflicts of interest created by Nancy Malool and the lingering bad blood between her, her husband and Di Paola compromised the safety of all Scotch Plains residents. It's probably a bit of everything: incompetence by Di Paola, a vendetta by Paul Malool, and astoundingly bad and, yes, corrupt judgement by his wife, who created this whole mess (even if her husband was on the ball, there is reasonable reason for people who don't know him to think he could have rogue in order to sink the woman who stabbed his wife in the back---a totally plausible assumption). I can't believe DP would just flake out so close to the election, so I have to believe she's just an incompetent hack -- drunk on power but not willing to assume ultimate responsibility for what happens in her town.
SPTaxpayer November 09, 2012 at 02:14 AM
So Mayor soccer mom has now fired two people - malool and herself. Now we are left with the police chief who had better things to do than attend the preparation meeting before the worst storm in the state's history. Was he eatching the news? He has got to tell his police force to put the radar guns away, get out of their souped up police cruisers and start walking the beat until power is fully restored. We have more police cars sitting in the municipal parking lot than are on the road and that is just lame. The one time we really need them to step up and they act like business as usual. Can I see one of them directing traffic or doing something other than sit in their heated police cars waiting for a fender bender to go down? Please? If not, let's just disband the police and pay fanwood to do it for us.
Natalie Taylor November 09, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Has Mayor DePaola ever heard of a car charger for cell phones? That is what I used during the time I had no POWER!! I went out into the dark of night each and every night to be sure that my phone was charged (and to get some heat) as well as during the day
Natalie Taylor November 09, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Colleen Gialanella distributed informational flyers to residents of SP last Saturday - I know because I helped her distribute them. I received storm updates from FANWOOD MAYOR Colleen MAHR 3 times during the past week updating me on the storm. I saw Mayor Mahr riding around Fanwood last Tuesday (the day after the storm) distributing information flyers to the residents of FANWOOD. Couldn't the Mayor of SCOTCH PLAINS have done the same. SHAME ON YOU MAYOR DEPAOLA!! You left the residents of Scotch Plains literally and figuratively IN THE DARK!!
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Hi all, I should clarify that Mayor DePaola told me personally that she had to keep charging her phone due to the amount she was using it. That was not her response to Malool he told me that information following me speaking to DePaola.
SPTaxpayer November 09, 2012 at 03:23 AM
The town should have had back up generators at the municipal building so phone charging was not an issue. If she was at the municipal building she could have charged it there. She should have operated out of the big chevy tahoe/suburban the police chief has at his disposal and charged it as she moved around town assessing the damage and talking with residents. They sell car chargers at the dollar store. The fact she brought up the cell phone charging issue is a lane excuse.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Hi taxpayer, I should clarify that Mayor DePaola told me personally that she had to keep charging her phone due to the amount she was using it. That was not her response to Malool he told me that information following me speaking to DePaola.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Hi Tammy, I should clarify that Mayor DePaola told me personally that she had to keep charging her phone due to the amount she was using it. That was not her response to Malool he told me that information following me speaking to DePaola.
ParkMom November 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM
clearly it was mother nature at her worst!
ParkMom November 09, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Church St. is still out.. or should i say only a number of houses on Church.. they fixed the others 4 days ago.... and noone came and finished the last 10 homes... wth
Ed November 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Everyone is making comments about what should have been done,who was visible and communication. As I sit writing this, I still have no communication from anyone in reference to power back in the center of Scotch Plains. IS THERE ANY????? I know some of the town did and Front up to Mountain didn't. PLEASE INFORM ME . No matter who you voted for, neither REP or DEM are communicating this info.
ParkMom November 09, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Church St. .. or part of it.. is still out.. and no communication here either
Chester A. Arthur November 09, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Have you checked to the Town website? Or the town bulletin board? Or have you contacted the mayor's office? Checked in at the library? Oh, that's right! They are all useless
Richard November 09, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I couldn't vote for Do Nothing Paola so I held my nose and voted for Glover. I hope for the best and fear for the worst.
Chester A. Arthur November 09, 2012 at 03:16 PM
You know what.. It's Friday, and Mayor Elect Glover hasn't said anything except thank you for voting me in. I'm starting to worry that Glover is going to be more of the same.
Lance Abramowitz November 09, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Something smells rotten in Scotch Plains.
SP Resident November 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I felt the same...couldn't vote for either candidate or town council rep...so I left it blank. Wished I could have wrote in for Mahr (Fanwood's mayor). I'm hoping Mr. Glover proves me wrong about him.
Janet Blaes November 09, 2012 at 04:14 PM
This is the very first time that ScPlns was tested to the fullest for a "Catastrophic" emergency. We have had storms prior that we dealt with, such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999, where outages were able to be address more quickly & resolved.in a matter of a few days. Bear in mind the entire town of ScPlns and all the surrounding towns, Plfd, No & So Plfd,,Westfield, etc were effected.let alone the issued along the coastal areas, There are lessons to be learned from this disaster ..One is the difficulty in communication... for example not everyone knew about the charging station at the Police Dept,, or where to find a possible warming station and I am certain I have left out a few suggestions ...Yes it may have been posted on line, but without power to access how could the majority of us know what was posted. These are all lessons for a future massive disaster recovery that may lurk in years to come.. But "in-fighting" is totally unnecessary and unprofessional... another lesson learned....
Chester A. Arthur November 09, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Smells rotten? It's a visible pile of dog sht!
Mike Hawk November 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM
People, this is politics. Former Mayor Nancy Malool appointed her own husband, Paul to the OEM position 4 years ago. Was that right? Don't you think Glover is going to put his 'boys' in positions at SP town hall once he is sworn in? I've already heard those rumors.
JerseyMolly November 09, 2012 at 04:26 PM
If you are looking for information about what's going on in Fanwood and Scotch Plains, please join our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/SPFNJ/ It's been up and running throughout this crisis, and it's easily accessible from your smartphone. This is NOT an official source of information, it's a site that was started by the residents for the residents, and it really works! Too bad our elected officials don't read it, they could've found out what's really going on in their towns.
Chester A. Arthur November 09, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I think, that as a result of Sandy and the political firestorm that followed, town hall will be under greater scrutiny. I mean how many posters here are new? How many people even knew the Mayor's name before people started asking questions about the local government? How many of you have even been to a town meeting? That said, it would be in Glover's best interest to tread carefully. These are new times in Scotch Plains and the politics as usual isn't going to cut it. His constiuency is going to require greater transparency and if he's going to want to keep the office for more than just one term, he's going to have to deliver.
Chester A. Arthur November 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Can you unlock it for those who don't have Facebook can see the page?
JerseyMolly November 09, 2012 at 04:58 PM
@Chester A. Arthur. No, i can't, sorry. But registering with Facebook is free and it takes mere seconds. You can always delete your account later if you aren't happy with it.
hollaaaa November 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I am a Republican who voted for a Democrat., because regardless of party he is for the people. Mr. Glover was supporting our town workers, thanking them and offering his support. He was driving around the community making sure he could help in anyway possilbe. YOU COULD FIND HIM. WHERE WAS THE MAYOR? Mr. Glover was also at the water main break behind St. Bart's, offering his help and support. I would never vote for a backstabber, and I don't have all the details but she's not my kind of girl. I can't respect/support someone that backstabs to try and further their career. So yes, the above looks correct!
Chester A. Arthur November 09, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Thanks Molly, but it's not for me.
trythetruth November 09, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Quite an honor...SP residents are among the anointed 1% still w/o power in PSEG's franchise territory. Called them this morning and rep asked if there have been any PSEG trucks in my neighborhood, and if we had any trees or wires down. Uh, no...everything's been just great. I asked him since we're down to 1% (pretty finite group), maybe he should be able to provide me with a little more information instead of me answering all his questions. Great job by Mrs/Mr Mayor and OEM taking care of your constituents. Thanks to Tubby and Mr President for the day-long photo-op...and zero help.
The Cynic November 13, 2012 at 12:27 AM
There have been bad odors in this town for as long as I can remember (circa 1960's). Fanwood would be foolish to consider any kind of merger. This episode should be a warning to all Fanwood residents.


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