Sleepy Hollow No Fan of Utilities’ Response Time

Sleepy Hollow Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio“Friday 11/2 – The Village was disappointed to discover that the utility crews deployed to County House Road and Sleepy Hollow Road did not return the next day to address other outages in the Village. We especially were concerned about a downed line that serviced the Van Tassel apartment building, which has 254 units and many elderly residents.  Also on this line are Morse School, the senior center, Rescue Hose, the ambulance building, 6 polling places, 2 gas stations, 3 traffic signals and hundreds of other Village residents. An urgent message was sent [to the utilities company] with no reply.”

Village Administrator of Sleepy Hollow Anthony Giaccio pictured at right

That single entry from a memo to the Sleepy Hollow Village Board from Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio is a “microcosm” view into Sleepy Hollow’s Hurricane Sandy experience, where time and again, the Village felt their efforts were delayed or impeded. “I feel strongly that the Village did everything within its power to get them [utilities company] to respond to all of our concerns,” says Giaccio. “I don’t think they did a good job, I have to be honest. I’m very patient… People out of power three, four or five days in a storm like this is understandable, but when it gets to six, seven and eight days [it is not acceptable].”

“Saturday 11/3 – Still no crews in the Village.  I again participated in conference calls with the County and Con Ed and expressed the Village’s growing frustration with the situation.  Still no response.”

As with Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow’s main damage came from downed trees and power lines. “Generally speaking, the Village was very fortunate,” says Giaccio. Three of the Village’s parks were closed due to downed power lines and dangerous hanging branches, but there was no structural damage to public buildings. As a precaution against any possible surge from the Hudson, Mayor Wray evacuated Ichabod’s Landing residents, but unlike Irvington, Sleepy Hollow’s waterfront was spared by Sandy.

“Sunday 11/4 – A Con Ed supervisor showed up in the morning and met with DPW foreman Rich Gross to survey the downed lines, however crews were not
deployed to the Village.”

Giaccio supplied this publication with a list of where he believed utility responders dropped the ball. Items include:

  • Utilization of municipal resources: “We had people available 24/7 for traffic control, tree removal and general assistance. They were never requested [by utilities company].”
  • Communication: “Despite having a liaison and daily conference calls, many municipalities had no idea when and where crews were being deployed.”
  • Efficiency: “The first crew that arrived in Sleepy Hollow was from Oklahoma City. The prior day they were in Hastings. When they didn’t show up the next day, I called their supervisor only to find out that they were now in New Rochelle.”
  • Priorities Were Not Followed: “We were continually told  that priorities were safety first, road closures, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc. It took 7 days to clear one of our roads with live wires. It only took 3 days to restore power to one of our residential areas.”

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About the Author: David Neilsen