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Township Mayor Commended on Sandy Handling

Chatham Day School head says mayor's daily emails helped her share accurate information with her staff.

Dear Editor,

I am writing on behalf of the teachers, parents, and students of Chatham Day School to express our appreciation for the leadership of Chatham Township's Mayor, Nicole Hagner. Her grace under pressure and outstanding communication skills were readily apparent and very helpful during the aftermath of the storm disaster.

As Head of Chatham Day School, where we serve students from over 36 surrounding towns, the continuous flow of information from Mayor Hagner enabled me to keep our community informed about the power restoration status of the school. Whether the news was good or bad, she was the source for the frequent updates that I was able to share with staff, friends and families.

Although CDS was without power for two weeks, we never felt in the dark. Our thanks to Mayor Hagner for all of her efforts.

Pamela C. Fiander, Ed.D.
Head of School
Chatham Day School
700 Shunpike Road
Chatham, NJ

chatham mom November 28, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Interesting. The exact opposite of what my experience was. She was nowhere to be found. I got all of my information from the Borough updates. There needs to be a shake up!
justanobservation November 28, 2012 at 04:25 AM
This letter was unbelievable.
Frank November 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Is there a Chatham in upstate New York to which this letter should have been addressed? This must be a misplaced letter- this is the Chatham Township in New Jersey- 20 miles east of lower Manhattan. Glad to hear the upstate NY mayor of Chatham advocates for its people and communicates with them regulalrly during emergencies. This Partch covers Chatham Township, New Jersey.
Biff November 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM
LOL where's the JK ("just kidding") in Pamela Fiander's letter? This is such an over-the-top parody it should be reserved for April Fools Day! Talk to pretty much anyone else in the Township and the feedback on Nicole is that she was a zero during and after Sandy. Actually she was worse than a zero as her few responses were nasty. Sandy showed how great leaders like Gov Christie, and Chatham Borough's team responded, and how bad the Township's Mayor and Committee did (with the notable exception of Laura Nonnenmacher - who was the one and only member to really help!). Time for Nicole to go!! The Township has suffered enough under her!!
Biff November 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Jessica, you are 100% correct, Laura Ali Nonnenmacher was the ONLY Township Official to help and do whatever could be done. If/When Laura leaves the Committee, we are sunk. A "shake-up" that keeps Laura on the Committee and gets rid of the others duds, most notably Nicole, sure is in order!!
Emma November 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I find this letter concerning. If in fact CDS was very happy with Nicole then I would suspect that they got special treatment from her.. The communication was poor, and towards the end of the storm it became defensive. We don't want excuses, we want a mayor who cares and is a good representative of the town. Ask friends in other towns how their mayor were during the storm. Did they call the homes, did they send out update messages on a regular basis - messages that didn't sound like they came from a robot? I know it didn't happen in this town. I thought the communication from the public schools was excellent, but this town can't continue to ride on the coattails of the school. I am not sure what the problem is, but the town seems to be passive in regards to the real issues - ones that take hard work. After a difficult storm, how about some holiday festivities. Get Hickory Square moving. There are so many simple things to do. My concern is that the mayor is more worried about defending herself than actually doing something purposeful. I was surprised to hear that most towns mayor called homes on a daily basis during the storm to give updates and more importantly make residents feel like they aren't alone. This town had the attitude of every man for himself. Perhaps the mayor and others felt that it would "all work out". It's Chatham after all! I hope things get better. I truly do.
YOUR NUTS November 28, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Why is it that you people feel it is the mayor's responsibility to restore your power and pick up your trees? Government is not able to stop the wind and rain, restore power etc.. I imagine you wanted the folks governing body to climb the poles in front of your houses and hook the power up themselves. Stop your selfish rants and think of those who died, lost their homes and belongings, and put their lives on the line to keep you safe. Living in isolated little Chatham Township has certainly left you all with the feeling being above it all now hasn't it. Local government has no control over the power company, hurricanes and weather, or maintenance of your private property. It amazes me how you are all so quick to put your hand out for something not owed to you, and then blame someone for the weather. Wake up and grow up. Take responsibility for yourselves, and stop beying nasty and blaming individuals for an act of god that public officials have no control over. Did you ever bother to think if the elected officials, who live in town mind you, had power? Loved ones to care for? Trees down on their house? Facebook and email alerts? No power no alerts. Maybe the day school, people in need, and many others besides your selfish selves needed more assistance than you folks. Seems you had access to an awful lot of amenities that most did not. Try helping out instead of blaming. if a shake up includes people like you we are all in trouble.
Emma November 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Excuse me, but I never once mentioned the mayor or anyone else needing to get my electric back on or remove my downed trees. I don't think most are saying that either. I'm talking about compassion, respect and doing a good job. It is the mayors job to lead the town. If it's "every man for himself" that it should be expressed now so we know where we stand. My family was out volunteering right away. Also, if the town can't function when power goes out then perhaps they need to rethink things and come up with a plan so they can communicate. It doesn't make me feel comfortable knowing that all communication shuts down if the mayor doesn't have power. It's not all about the mayor either but she's the towns representative. If she is unable to do her job properly then she should ask others to help. In other towns people were going door to door to deliver written notices from their mayors. We want to be part of a welcoming, caring community. The tone that was set during the storm was anything but that and really made us rethink things. Personally, if someone was upset with me and how I was doing my job, I would care. I woudl want feedback. Feedback is crucial for success in all aspects of life. Your rude tone is just one more example of why my family is upset with the town. My family would have done anything to help anyone in town or anywhere else.
Melissa Cavallone November 28, 2012 at 05:29 PM
To "Your Nuts" (glad they aren't mine, perhaps you mean "You're Nuts", IDK), no one said it was our mayor's responsibility to restore the power and pick up our trees. We do not think our elected officials have the power to stop the rain and wind, and no one said we did. We do, however, expect clear communication in times of crises, which residents did not get. Our communication was all electronic (Nixle alerts from PD) and emails disseminated by the recreation department (and not all residents have kids in rec programs). I am not aware of any door to door to check for elderly residents in need of assistance (well, I believe Laura Nonnenmacher may have done some of that, but she's not the mayor), there were no flyers, there was no attempt to reach the non-electronic community. I do not feel entitled to anything except a local governing body that actually does what is necessary. We are not asking for handouts. Indeed, many trucks went from Chatham to Staten Island with supplies. We know that the mayor was without power. 100% of the township was without power. Seems to me that you are being extremely defensive, so perhaps you know our mayor. If so, please convey our gratitude for what she has done, and our dissatisfaction for what she didn't do and could have. I, however, will not praise her performance.
Emma November 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Melissa, you said it much better than I did. I have been so out of sorts with all of this. Not the storm, but how it was handled. It really is making me question things. Life is short and certainly can be tough. Where I live and how I feel about where I live is important to me. I know not everyone feels that way, but it is important to me. I see so many places and areas that town could grow and flourish without too much effort. I also know there are a lot of more important issues to be tackled. If people continue to bury their heads in the sand, the other towns around us are going to pass us by. You can only ride on schools and "best town to live in" for so long!
YOUR NUTS November 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I'm a little confused! What town did the mayor go door to door? I have lived in various towns and states during state of emergencies and never once did the mayor or anyone else for that matter go door to door. I find it very sad that we live in a world of entitlement. Yea for Laura N. for having the internet/phone capabilities to reach out to you all. I on the other hand had none of those available to me during the loss of power. And isn't Laura a respresentative of the town and so therefore you (as stated above) were notified. So what would you have liked them to do otherwise? I have numerous relatives that live in South Jersey; Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Toms River, Spring Lake Heights and Sea Girt, I can assure you that not one of them were visited by the mayor or anyone else in an official capacity, nor did they expect it. Please pray for all of those who lost everything and now don't even have a home to celebrate the holidays this season. Let's try and keep things in perspective dear Chatham Twnshp. residence.
justanobservation November 28, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I'd bet a dollar that YOUR NUTS is either the mayor herself or a close associate.
Emma November 28, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I said people were going to door handing out letters from the neighbor notifying residents as to what was going on. The town was Springfield. The mayor also left phone messages but in case phones weren't working the residents would know what's going on. I guess the residents there are very spoiled. It's clear that there are other inside issues going on. I don't really care. What I do care, is about this town. In regards to entitlement, yes, it certainly can apply to this town, but the hired/paid/elected officials are certainly setting a tone of entitlement. There was little evidence of any effort or hustle on their part (aside from Laura N) It makes me sad. Yes, other people in other areas were far worse, but that's missing the point. The paid/elected officials clearly felt that if they didn't have internet service or whatever then it meant they didn't have to go to the police station or to Madison to get their job done.....to hustle....to do what they are being paid for...what they dedicated themselves to service for. Or perhaps, as some of these posts suggest, the people that were upset from lack of communication were just jerks and that they are expecting too much.. Yuck. I for one would be happy to volunteer with anything that's needed, whether their is power or not. I'd be happy to meet and talk with anyone about it.
Emma November 28, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Sorry. I meant people were going to door handing out letters from the mayor in Springfield. Just down on this town right now. All this fighting and excuses is pathetic. People are attacking those who tried to help. It's really ridiculous and upsetting. My last post on this topic!
YOUR NUTS November 28, 2012 at 08:13 PM
It is not the elected officials, it is the expectations of the residents that are askew. JCPL had poor management, but the people from other states doing the work are to be commended. The moment the "entitled" residents of the Chathams are inconvieneced there has to be someone to blame. What a joke. How sad that we cannot face the facts that a terrible storm came in and everyone did their best under adverse conditions. Good for the Day School to hand out credit instead of complaining. What a great lesson to the kids to learn gratitude, something most of the adults posting on this website obviously don't understand. I only hope that this bitterness from the few is not the sentiment of the many.
Emma November 28, 2012 at 08:35 PM
OK. Why don't we get a major network on this ad blow the lid off of this mes. It's the residents who's expectations are askew! Wow. It's NOT about JCP&L.The out of state people were great! It's the lousy attitude of town officials. They were no where to be found. It's about staying together throughout a crisis. Clearly, your nuts doesn't understand the power of communication or a kind word. No, it doesn't work on everyone, but trust me there was a lot of buzz going on about the punitive tone of the emails from CT. A colleague from Clinton said the mayors lousy job was discussed on national news within a report on Madison and Summit. Summit was out of power for longer than CT and the residents there aren't complaining. They have a town government that works...WORKS. What a concept. Your Nuts, I wish I could buy what you're saying. It would make me feel better about the town government, but it doesn't. I don't buy it. What I will buy is a home in a kinder town. I don't think you get that though......because you are nuts!
Biff November 28, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Clearly "justanobservation" has it right, "Your Nuts" is either Nicole's baby father, or some relative of hers. The fact is that the Township government had no plan and no response. We as residents have every right to expect both, it isn't an entitlement to expect emergency preparedness or some for of communication ( of which I saw neither, except from Laura Nonnenmacher - who "Your Nuts" is transparently slamming). I can't imagine that Nicole will run for office again, but if she does she won't stand a ghost of a chance. Getting someone who has a clue about preparedness and adequate response, will be a good start in the right direction, and "Your Nuts" can spend a lot more quality time with Nicole on Thursday nights.
mgt November 29, 2012 at 01:59 AM
And how about a meeting like other towns have had, to assess what could be done better for future situations. That's what a real leader does. Basking Ridge had a meeting with JCP&L 2 weeks ago, other towns have held meetings this week. Chatham Township?? Not a word. YOUR NUTS, am I just acting entitled to expect us to come up with a better plan or next time??? Or are you going to tell me to go move to Basking Ridge?
Sir November 29, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Mgmt call the mayor and talk to her. Don't be a coward behind a computer.
nsbm November 29, 2012 at 02:26 AM
As a resident of a neighboring town, BH I can't actually comment on what did or did not happen in CT, but certainly reading the comments it seems that communication was extremely poor and whatever communication there may have not have been particularly informative. And I believe that that is the crux of what everyone is really talking about INFORMATION or the lack thereof. What I can comment on is what the Mayor in my own town did, he gave daily updates to about what was going on, the conference calls he was involved in with the power company and what he was being told. He even cooked up 100lbs of chili at the town hall for residents! - small things, maybe but they really were truly appreciated! I managed to get information whilst sitting at the YMCA using their power to charge everything I could!! The patch and NJ.com were my go to spots for information it didn't particularly matter if there was good news or bad it was just that we were being told SOMETHING. In a time when all you need is to know what is going on COMMUNICATION is key - and that is the role of our elected officials.
Emma November 29, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Thanks NSBM for your thoughtful comments. I so crave a community that does nice things like that, especially when times are tough. It's called compassion and being aware of feelings of others - not entitlement. Seems some people in our town are being beaten up a bit because they tried to step in and help make things a little better during a difficult time. Sounds like our mayor and friends didn't like the "Kindness" stuff.
YOUR NUTS November 29, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Nothing wrong with kindness, or communication. It is obvious the day school was happy with the Mayor. It seems to be you folks here that have issues about your feelings. I feel better when folks like you get what you want every time you want. That is not the real world. I don't care about the officials one way or the other, nor do I have any connection to the mayor. I can say that the town government, or any government is not always here to make you feel good. Life happens, I am sure that our town officials worked hard, and did all that they could. They just did not directly consult you. I don't think they needed to either. Kindness? don't see much from you folks. Preparedness? I suppose we should have evacuated like the shore towns, maybe put the national guard out to prevent folks from getting to their homes? I didn't hear of any thefts while the power was out in the Township. With all the technology you had during the storm and after, seems you were well informed. The elected officials are not your babysitters or shrink. Stop placing blame because the inconvenience rocked your little world and big brother government didn't jump to your bedside! I imagine Mayor Bloomberg went door to door, and pumped out the subways as well! Sad that you all need to be coddled like some child, when it was clear that you had all the information at your fingertips that you needed. Sounds to me that you clicked your heels and weren't in Kansas anymore, a shame it is.
Biff November 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Clearly you think everyone else is "NUTS," just not you. Hmmmm, I wonder what that says about you? ;-)
chatham7 November 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM
always the complainers that seem to have the energy to post rants (like Biff AKA John N.) Same group above complains about pretty much anything in town. I think, as many others do, the Mayor did a tremendous job. We just don't feel the need to post it. Perhaps we should. I for one looks forward to Mayor Hagner being Mayor in 2013 and hopes she decides to run again in June.
Biff November 29, 2012 at 03:43 PM
WOW chat5, you have been busy!! I clicked on your username to see if I could better determine if you are Nicole or Bailey, and I see that you have dutifully defended Nicole (yourself?) on post after post, after post. Nicole’s (your?) incompetence sure is keeping you busy as the lone defender of the Mayor on the Patch forums!! Your Oct. 31st over-the-top defensive jab at “Sir” really narrows the field as to who your true identity is, when you stated: “Only a matter of time before some A**hole blamed the mayor. Congrats Sir – you are the A**hole.” At the rate that Township residents are voicing their complaint on the the Patch and elsewhere about how little and poorly Nicole (you?) handled preparation for , and the post Sandy aftermath, your fingers and keyboard will be worn out calling us all obscenities.
Emma November 29, 2012 at 04:33 PM
If the mayor is writing in as someone else then it is creepy, disgusting,unethical and trashy. She should be thrown out. How much is she paid?
ROUTE124 November 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I don't believe the Mayor is paid anything but a small stipend---- CT mayor is not elected by electorate... the township committee members vote on who is mayor...The real question was where was our Township Admin ....??? absent as usual... now he does pull down a healthy salary from your property tax dollars and is virtually unaccountable.... lets drill into this issue !!!!
jessica November 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM
please enlighten those of us in the dark - what did the mayor and her office do during the storm and the weeks afterwards that helped to support the community? put folks minds' at ease? share information? please chime and and let us know so that we understand how / why her level of performance was so "tremendous". thank you.
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Chatham Resident Too December 04, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Tell ya what would have been nice, is if the highly paid Police and Public Works in the Township had been highly-visible. They do nothing. Second year in a row that they are invisible when we need them most. Does this town even own an orange cone. Shameful !!! Madison put us to shame, and we pay the same high taxes don't we ? Oh yeah, I saw a fat guy get in and out of a truck with a rake for 5 seconds while Chatham Disposal dragged a 12,000 lbs dumpster down our street making large strtches in the roadway. And that was two weeks after the Storm. Seriously, does the Police phone system scream, GO AWAY ! or what ? Could these people actually earn their pay just once ?

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