Around Town | April 22, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 22, 2011

Around Town

LEADERSHIP GAP ... Palo Alto proudly boasts a wealth of citizen groups who care passionately about preparing the city for the next major disaster. But when it comes to the city's official emergency-preparedness efforts, things are far less smooth. Earlier this month, the city's Emergency Manager Richard Mallonee was asked to step down because his official position — "management specialist" — only allows him to work 1,000 hours per year. According to a letter he sent out to emergency volunteers, he exceeded these hours, and the city decided not to extend his hours. His last day on the job was April 7. Mallonee wrote that he's been told the city intends to bring him back in the new fiscal year, on July 1. The latest bureaucratic hiccup in the city's emergency-preparedness operation has riled local volunteers, who earlier this month urged the city to hire a permanent director of emergency services — a position that was also recommended by an independent report from consultant Arrietta Chakis. Lenore Cymes, a disaster-preparedness volunteer, thanked Mallonee for his expertise and leadership and expressed frustration at the staff turnover in the Office of Emergency Services. "Now we are, unfortunately, left rudderless once again," Cymes wrote in an e-mail to Mallonee and the City Council. Given the recent Japan earthquake, she wrote, the city's decision not to extend Mallonee's hours is "so penny wise and pound foolish, it defies explanation."

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