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June 9, 2014

Kemper proposes replacing Delp as head of EMA

WEST NEWBURY — Selectmen are considering a change in leadership for the Emergency Management Agency.

During a discussion of annual municipal appointments at a meeting last Monday, chairman Glenn Kemper proposed replacing current EMA director Lee Ann Delp with deputy director Ben Jennell.

But his colleagues Joe Anderson and David Archibald want to speak to Delp first before voting on whether to oust her.

Last June, selectmen voted unanimously not to reappoint Delp to the position after learning that she had taken a full-time job with the Essex Regional Emergency Communication Center in Middleton. Delp had previously served as lead dispatcher in West Newbury, where she received statewide recognition as the Jeff Grossman Telecommunicator of the Year in 2013.

Subsequently, selectmen reversed the decision after Delp met with them and argued that her job in Middleton wouldn’t prevent her from duties as EMA director in West Newbury in the event of an emergency situation. She would be available as needed and could also take charge remotely from Middleton.

She was staying on West Newbury’s dispatcher roster in a part-time capacity. Selectmen then agreed to reappoint her for one year.

Anderson said on Monday that although he thinks he is probably on the same page as Kemper when it comes to making the change, he’d still “like to kind of hear what (Delp) has to say.”

Kemper pointed out that selectmen don’t call in every person who isn’t being reappointed. But Archibald indicated that waiting on the vote was preferable to him as well.

Kemper said he didn’t think the board was going to “hear anything new” from Delp. He stressed that his proposal “has nothing to do with her abilities or her commitment to the town.” It was simply that her choice to leave her post in West Newbury to work in the regional center was an indication that she had “moved on.”

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