A retired Point Borough police corporal was appointed and sworn in on Monday as the new Borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator.
Gary Colberg was appointed by Mayor William Schroeder on Monday to replace William Ippolito, who quit the position on Jan. 7, the day after he was sworn in at the Borough Council's organization meeting.
Colberg will be paid $3,350 per year for the part-time, civil service position, Schroeder said. Colberg, who was hired as a police officer on May 19, 1986 and retired on Oct. 1, 2011, has 25 years of police experience.
Council does not vote on appointments made by the mayor.
Kiel Arnone, the Deputy OEM Coordinator, posted on the OEM Facebook page, "It is with great joy that we welcome Retired Point Pleasant Police Officer Gary Colberg as our new Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management."
Schroeder said Colberg, starting next week, will work with Schroeder and other Borough officials on an OEM budget and other plans. Patch could not immediately reach Colberg for comment.
Schroeder said Colberg's years of police experience and his interest in doing the job were the primary reasons he appointed him.
"I was impressed that he called and asked to fill this position," Schroeder said. "He has the background and the knowledge and everything we need for this. And he has no full-time job, so nothing will interfere."
Interference was something Ippolito's boss was worried about when he found out Ippolito had accepted the new position. Ippolito is a full-time Point Beach police sergeant whose decision to accept the Borough position was reviewed by Point Beach Police Chief Kevin O'Hara.
UPDATE: O'Hara said in an email on Monday afternoon: "I reacted by having a violation of my department's rules and standard operating procedures investigated by appropriate personnel within my department. When the facts were determined the officer involved was given a choice. Obviously, you cannot be in two places at once during a state of emergency, my duty as Chief of police is to insure the rules of my department are followed and that the operations of my department are not adversely effected by any outside influences, at any time."
Ippolito said, "The chief told me to resign from one or the other. He was pretty adamant."
There is a standard operating procedure calling for officers to get outside employment approved by the chief before accepting it, Ippolito said.
"I had thought of this as more of a volunteer position," he said. "I was going to give my stipend to Kiel because he would be doing most of the field work and I would be assisting him with planning."
Ippolito had told Patch on Jan. 6, just after being sworn in, that he had not even realized the job came with a stipend.
Just after the Jan. 6 meeting, when asked how he will allocate his time if there is an emergency, such as another Irene or Sandy, that impacts the Borough and the Beach, Ippolito said that while his full-time job comes first, he will use his off-duty hours to devote to the OEM position and when he is working in the Beach, he will delegate to Arnone.
When asked after the meeting about Ippolito's duel duties, Schroeder had said he is confident that Ippolito will fulfill his new duties when he is not working in his full-time position, and, when necessary, delegate to Arnone, who he is confident can successfully fill in for Ippolito.
Schroeder said the Borough may also ask for a volunteer to serve as a second deputy.
The position of OEM Coordinator was vacated about a week after Sandy struck when Bill Dikun, a former Borough councilman and longtime member of the volunteer fire department, left the position following what he characterized only as "philosophical differences with the mayor."
Since then, Arnone has filled in and was paid $3,200 for his work responding to post-Sandy emergency calls, establishing, operating and supervising the Borough's emergency relief center and various other duties, Schroeder said.
Now that Colberg is in the coordinator position, Arnone will no longer be paid unless council decides to expand the Emergency Management budget, Schroeder said.