NORWICH – Effective April 20, 2021 A Wesley Jones will retire from his position as the City of Norwich Emergency Management Director after 26 years of service to Norwich.
“I have chosen this specific date because it will mark exactly 26 years of service with the City of Norwich,” said Jones. “I was appointed as Assistant Emergency Management Officer on April 21, 1995, elevated to a paid position eight months later, and then in January 1997, I assumed the role I currently hold now.”
"Norwich will always proudly be my hometown. Although I'm pursuing new opportunities, I'll never forget my roots and I will be back to visit the area. There's few places in this country more beautiful than Upstate New York."
New York State Assemblyman Joe Angelino spoke about Jones’ retirement and said he was devastated when he heard the news.
"When I heard Wes Jones was leaving his position as the City Emergency Management Office, I was devastated,” said Angelino. “Wes is the perfect person for that position because of his background, training, and deep interest.”
“The EMO requires a special person; smart, quick-thinking, and calm, Wes is all of that and more.”
Angelino said in times of declared emergency, Jones was formally his boss, in charge of both police and fire departments.
“The city and county will be hard-pressed to find a replacement as good as Mr. Jones,” he said. “I've spent many long nights, usually in a storm or flood, in the Emergency Manager's Office with Wes, but the most memorable time was September 11, 2001, when the USA was attacked - no one in the room had been through that before, but Wes broke it down to things we need and things we could do to help.”
“He was a calming voice and knew his stuff."
Jones said he was leaving the area for a mix of personal and professional reasons, but he said he thinks as like a lot of other former New Yorkers, that there are a lot of opportunities that can only be found outside of New York.
He added that he will continue to serve as the chief dispatcher for the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office until he has started a new job or until the end of June.
“When I started with the City in 1995, it seemed like something fun to do, an opportunity to get move involved in emergency services and a way to serve my community,” said Jones. “I had no idea that I’d still be here this many years later.”
“I actually didn’t know fully what I was getting into, emergency management was still evolving from the Cold War era, better known at the time as Civil Defense. Over the years emergency management has evolved and is now integrated into every facet of emergency planning, response, recovery and mitigation.”
Jones said there have been 27 federal disaster declarations for Chenango County since he started in 1995, in nearly two thirds of which the city was impacted and received funding from the federal and state governments. He said he has been pleased to have brought back to the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in both grants and FEMA reimbursement.
He added that these disasters have included a 300-year record flood, followed by a 500-year record flood, several other flood events, record snow storms, severe storms, a tornado in the city and currently, a global pandemic.
“I am proud to be leaving the emergency management office where it is today,” said Jones. “The City is known regionally and throughout the state as being proactive in preparedness and response, a leader in public engagement and early warning notification, and has been active in hazard mitigation.”
“This is less about me and more about the support of the leaders who recognize the threats the City faces and want to be proactive in planning and responding.”
He said he has appreciated the full support of several mayors, dozens of City Council members and wonderful employees with the city, and he thanked all of them for their help.
“I could not have done this job without the support – bottom to top,” he added. “Although I will miss the people the most, honestly, I will not miss the late nights, early mornings and middle of the night callouts.”
“I wish the City all the best moving forward. If I can be of any assistance, please feel to reach out. Thank you again for this opportunity to have served community in which I was born and raised.”