WEST NEWBURY — Selectmen agreed unanimously to reappoint Lee Ann Delp as head of the Emergency Management Agency through the end of the year. They also reappointed Steve Alvino, Michael Dwyer and Ben Jennell as Delp’s three deputy directors.
At a meeting earlier this month, selectman chairman Glenn Kemper proposed replacing Delp with Jennell, saying her full-time employment at the regional dispatch center in Middleton could potentially interfere with her abilities to effectively manage an emergency situation in town. But Selectmen Joe Anderson and David Archibald wanted to speak with Delp first.
Archibald asked Delp on Monday how she would juggle her two responsibilities if the town faced a severe weather situation that was also impacting the region.
Delp responded that the director’s primary role is not “down in the trenches” with first responders. Rather she manages documenting damage, filing paperwork and working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flexibility in her schedule and a good working relationship with West Newbury’s police, fire and EMA personnel are assets in that kind of scenario, she said.
She noted that after news of her potential removal from EMA in West Newbury appeared in the newspaper, she was personally contacted by Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins Jr., who gave his support and encouragement for her staying on in the local leadership role.
Delp also responded to a concern raised by Kemper that Alvino’s name had been left off the list she submitted of her recommendations for reappointment. Delp insisted the omission was not intentional, but rather an oversight because she had not had any contact with Alvino for most of his one-year term.
After Alvino was appointed last year, Delp said she attempted to reach out to him several times and included him on at least nine emails she sent over an 11-month period seeking EMA volunteers for town events and activities, but only heard from him once — late last month after she had already submitted her list.