Improvements are planned at Trumbull’s Stern Village senior citizen housing complex to avoid the difficulties faced by the residents there during this month’s massive blizzard.
First Selectman Timothy Herbst told the town’s Senior Commission Friday morning that the improvements include the installation of emergency generators in case the complex loses electricity in another storm.
Stern Village has electric heat, and many residents rely on oxygen ventilators and other medical equipment that run on electricity, so they cannot go without electricity for long, Herbst said.
Later, at a press briefing in his Town Hall office, Herbst said the problems that might occur at Stern Village due to a prolonged power outage were obvious after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, but the Housing Authority did nothing to act on a report’s recommendations to install emergency generators and make other improvements to the town’s emergency response at the complex.
Another improvement is the computerization of residents’ records, including their special medical needs and medicines, he said.
Herbst said a Stern Village tenant who was found dead in one of the apartments by emergency personnel who were evacuating residents following Hurricane Sandy was misidentified for a time because of the failure to keep those records up-to-date.
He was quick to add that it is not known what caused the person’s death. But the misidentification was detected before any relatives were informed, Herbst added.
A Facebook Comment
Herbst also took a member of the commission to task for a comment he made on social media related to the blizzard.
Commission member Gary Raytar posted a comment on the evening Feb. 9, less than 12 hours after the storm ended, noting that snow plowing appeared to be better in other towns. “Just curious. Not to be the complainer but Easton, Weston. Is plowed. Milford that had more snow than anyone is plowed,” read the comment, according to a screen shot obtained by Trumbull Patch.
“If you want to make a political statement, you want to come after me, that’s fine,” Herbst told him, “but the people who work for the Public Works Department don’t deserve comments like that.”
“I never made a negative remark about the Public Works Department,” Raytar replied.
Then Senior Commission Chairman Rachel Yahwak took him to task for identifying himself as a Senior Commission member when he spoke at a Stern Village residents’ meeting. She instructed him not to speak as a commission representative unless specifically authorized to do so.
Herbst said he has run into a problem with members of several commissions, including the EMS Commission, the Senior Commission and the Housing Authority board, meddling in the administrative functions of town departments.
He cautioned the Senior Commission members against trying to “micromanage” the Senior Center.