Lawmakers Question Whether City Is Equipped To Deal With Emergencies
By: NY1 News
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Local lawmakers are questioning whether the city is properly prepared to deal with emergencies.
City Council Speaker Gifford Miller hosted a summit Monday at Baruch College on the issue, where he and others pointed to a survey that finds more than 70 percent of local organizations are in the dark when it comes to handling an emergency situation.
Federal homeland security funds are in jeopardy if the city doesn't come up with an emergency response plan among agencies by October. But with the 9/11 commission coming to town next week, the pressure is on to get one together sooner. NY1’s Sandra Endo has the story.
The city still does not have a plan on how who's in charge at the scene of an emergency, firefighters or police officers, and officials faced more criticism Monday from the man who headed the mayor's Office of Emergency Management under Rudolph Giuliani.
“I fail to understand why the mayor simply can’t go with what Rudy Giuliani put in place,” said former OEM Commissioner Jerry Hauer. “Why he is so adamant about changing things just to change them is just mind-boggling.”
In March, Hauer wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times criticizing Mayor Michael Bloomberg for turning his former agency into more of a think-tank.
“It's not good management, it's not good for the city, and the system is not going to work,” said Hauer.
Bloomberg had this response: “He's a political guy who is working to get himself a job, so I’m not sure he’s a very good source on anything.”
The Bloomberg administration was also under attack today by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who sponsored a forum about the need to prepare local community groups for emergencies.
“Unfortunately, even two and a half years after September 11has passed, New York City still does not have a comprehensive, coordinated, and borough-wide plan to recruit, register and deploy emergency volunteers,” said Miller.
There was also the repeated request for more money for New York.
“It would seem to me that would make a lot of sense if the governor and the president would set an example for a city that’s been hit, and hit hard, to give us the resources to show that we have the resiliency, we have the skills, and we have the determination to make certain that all cities should be able to follow our great lead,” said Manhattan Rep. Charles Rangel.
The renewed cry for help may come because the 9/11 commission is holding hearings in New York City next week. They'll hear from New York leaders who were in charge during the attacks, including Giuliani and former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen.
- Sandra Endo
The commission has released its agenda for next week's hearings.
On Tuesday, the Commission will hear from three panels: First, a director and chief from the Port Authority.
Then the city's fire, police and OEM commissioners on September 11th, Bernard Kerik, Thomas Von Essen and Richard Sheirer.
And then the current commissioners in the Bloomberg Administration will testify.
On Wednesday morning, the Commission will hear testimony from former Mayor Rudolf Giuliani.
You can catch extensive live coverage of the hearings live on NY1 and NY1.com next Tuesday and Wednesday.