PODCAST: Administrator Breaks Down Reacting, Recovering, and Rebuilding from a Hurricane Disaster

In this episode of Local Gov Life, Paul Shives looks back at preparedness and response efforts from the worst natural disaster in New Jersey's history.   

One day you're planning with your staff for the preparation of a hurricane; the next day, you're surveying damage from the worst natural disaster in the state's history. Meet Paul Shives, business administrator of Tom's River, NJ, a community greatly affected by the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The township of 92,000 people suffered 9,200 damaged structures, 750,000 cubic yards of storm debris, and $38 million worth of damage to township property and infrastructure. Hear how Tom's River has managed the rebuilding process and has risen from the destruction of superstorm Sandy. 

In this episode of Local Gov Life, Shives looks back at preparedness and response efforts, discusses the community's challenges - then and now, and reveals powerful leadership lessons every local leader can learn from.   

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Takeaways:

  • Debris removal may be the largest cost of your disaster.
  • Be clear what recovery means for your community.
  • Understand the relationship between FEMA PA grants, insurance proceeds, HUD CDBG-DR funding, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grants, etc.
  • The road to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.

Quotable Mentions:

"Unless you see it, you can't believe it."

"It was like a movie set."

"You experience the five phases of grief."

"Beware of the media darlings on your staff."

"Hold FEMA accountable."

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Local Gov Life highlights successful programs and projects that enhance the quality of life in our communities. Each episode features a changing cast of local government experts from public and private sector backgrounds who together encompass years of experience in getting things done and achieving results. Catch up on all individual episodes at icma.org/podcast or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music.

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