Contracted Emergency Management in New York
A Supplemental Resource Before, During, and After
by Shelomo Alfassa, MPA
October 12, 2020
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The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) has a formal multi-year contract in place with five private contracting firms to provide emergency management and homeland security services. The State conducted their due diligence and qualified these vetted awardees with a pre-negotiated agreement to provide services to agencies and municipalities across New York through a purchase order, instead of the usual formal Request for Proposal or bid—therefore expediting the obtainment of both routine and urgent services. Municipalities (both large and small) across the State may opt to use such contractors, as does New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM). The following are the firms currently contracted with the State of New York for 2019 to 2021: AshBritt, Inc., Hagerty Consulting, Inc., Phillips and Jordan, Inc., Tetra Tech, Inc., and The Olson Group, Ltd.
AshBritt, Inc., was founded in 1992. In NY, they are contracted to provide debris management, including environmental remediation, sand removal, hazardous material removal, large-scale removal of vegetative and construction debris, maritime salvage, and heavy demolition operations. AshBritt is well known to federal agencies such as FEMA and the US Army Corps for Engineers and has been a contracted responder for just about every major Stafford Act implementation since Hurricane Andrew.
Hagerty Consulting, Inc. is a national emergency management consulting firm established in 2001. It is based out of Illinois with several offices around the country. Hagerty offers services ranging from preparedness, to response and recovery. This includes mitigation support, technical data analysis, damage assessments, mass care, crisis management, incident action plan development, engineering, floodplain management, capability assessments, and everything in between. They provide consulting for every Emergency Support Function within FEMA's National Response Framework—and not only because their Executive Chairman is the former number one man from FEMA. Hagerty makes available to the State of NY highly qualified Emergency Managers, Project Managers, Grant Administrators, Subject Matter Experts, Accountants, Preparedness Analysts, Mitigation Specialists, Engineers and Scientists. Some Hagerty staff are contracted by the City of New York and work in NYCEM’s Emergency Operation Center.
Phillips and Jordan, Inc., a civil heavy construction company founded in 1949, holds a state contract for removing storm deposited soil and sand, demolition, debris storage and reduction, hazardous tree removal, etc. They are contracted to work on both Private and Public property. Phillips and Jordan also perform preparedness operations such as developing Debris Management Plans.
Tetra Tech, Inc., a California-based company with 20K employees, provides consulting and engineering services; it has been around since 1966. The company supports solutions focused on water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, both domestically and overseas. Being on the State contract, the City of New York has elected to utilize them for flood protection consulting, which is coordinated by NYCEM, the Mayor's Office of Resiliency, and other city agencies. Tetra Tech also provides emergency management specialists working on flood modeling and other technical analysis related to citywide hydrologic concerns. Tetra Tech is not new to New York, they have done work for other municipalities, such as developing the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan for the City of New Rochelle.
The Olson Group, Ltd., is a Virginia-based consulting group focusing on terrorism and preparedness. They provide planning, training, and exercise services to federal, state and local governments across the country. After Hurricane Sandy, The Olson Group provided assessments and after-action reports for NYCEM. They are contracted in NY to assist the public (pre and post disaster) with applications for federal assistance, providing applicants with hazard mitigation opportunities, providing ice and emergency meals, debris management, and a host of other disaster-related support activities.
While the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (FY 2019 $1.5 billion) is a robust agency, it takes more than its personnel to provide an adequate level of statewide emergency management services for upward of 20 million people. The five firms mentioned provide resources which are available, depending on an entity’s budget, to support them before, during and after a disaster; these pre-arranged contracted firms make supplemental emergency management support services available for every municipality and State agency, for when they need it most.