April 01, 2020

Emergency situation

The members of the Maine Emergency Management Committee should be commended for their action. After the failure of their system, they followed the best bureaucratic procedure. They blamed the failure on someone else — the Legislature. They then said that because of the Maine Emergency System failure it should be given more money.

There is another solution to provide an emergency system for the state. Use the system, which worked in the crisis.

The Legislature should privatize the Maine Emergency System.

Set up an interim committee consisting of the organizations that actually performed: electric utilities; telephone utilities; media; clothing purveyors; churches; hardware and fuel distributors.

These organizations have a personal stake in performing. If they do not produce, they lose their jobs or businesses. They will not come back to the public for more money if they fail. Notably absent from the above list are taxpayer-supported entities. Our police, fire and ambulance services and National Guard performed admirably and are already charged with emergency preparedness. The Maine Emergency System was the failure. Let us not reward it with more money. Let us allow that which happens when private organizations fail. Let the Maine Emergency System go out of business. Do not reduce the scope of Maine Emergency Management. Let private industry take over.

Let’s call the above group the Maine Private Emergency System — MPES. MPES could make a bid to the Legislature to cover all the duties of the Maine Emergency System. The Legislature could evaluate MPES service and fees on a biannual basis. If MPES were not performing, or if another entity made a more favorable offer, it would be a simple matter to go with the best deal.

Please, dear Legislature, let’s reward performance and penalize failure. John G. Chapman Hampden

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