Reader Mail: What does Joel Mestre do?
Some of you might have seen this ambiguous story in this weekend’s Reporter about the Office of Emergency Management being padlocked.
For those that didn’t, the story mentions that “Deputy OEM Coordinator” Joel Mestre may be under investigation, with Public Safety Director Bill Bergin refusing to elaborate, citing that it would interfere with any “disciplinary action” that might need be taken in the future.
The rumors I heard 10 days ago were that Mestre may have been permanently removed from the position (with other opportunists vying the job), while other sources have said that Mestre is possibly “wired for sound” as part of a bigger federal investigation. It’s also been said that he’s involved in a nasty divorce battle after racy pictures showed up from the useless SWAT trip to Louisiana to assist after Hurricane Katrina.
The story went on to mention the OEM’s important responsibilities, the minimal information on the city website, and how Hoboken is supposedly very unprepared to handle any large-scale emergency.
Hoboken: Your property tax-dollars hard at work!
I’ve met Joel Mestre a couple times, and he seems like a nice enough guy to me.
But this Hoboken411 reader is wondering exactly what it is he does, and whether recent debacles by city employees (including him) should be an issue.. you be the judge. (I’m just the messenger)
Qualifications of Hoboken OEM Joel Mestre?
“The City of Hoboken should have some serious questions about the qualifications of OEM Joel Mestre. What is his background other than being “a wanna be cop”? What training and qualifications make him the ideal candidate for the position? According to reports he was the Hoboken SWAT TEAM Medic and if so was this a paid for position? Mestre is also a Hoboken Zoning Officer and Deputy Director of the OEM. How could Mestre hold all three positions and how much did he make for each position since his appointment and in fact who appointed him?
Is that not a conflict of interest? Was he appointed by Mayor Roberts being Mestre was one of his biggest supporters?
READ THE REST AFTER THE JUMP…
Mestre could be making as much as $70,000 as OEM Deputy Director and about the same as a Zoning Officer giving him a duel salary of almost $140,000 plus benefits and perks as well as a city vehicle and cell phone.
Other questions to consider is the fact that Mestre traveled with the Hoboken SWAT Team to New Orleans, thus leaving his duties and responsibilities to the City of Hoboken and its residents vulnerable should an “incident” occur natural or terrorist related. How can you over see any emergencies when you are partying with Hooters Girls and drinking up a storm with an out of state councilwoman?
Mestre was to be behind the framework of a citywide public announcement system powered by solar generators designed to alert Hoboken residents of an emergency. Yet, when Hoboken flooded and had a blackout the only people doing any warning was the Hoboken Police patrol cars on a loudspeaker. Where are all the emergency kits for Hoboken Households promised by Mestre informing them what to do in case of an emergency? I never got one and no one I know ever did as well. The kit was to include phone numbers, evacuation routes, and other vital information.
Where are the CERT Teams (Community Emergency Response Team) who are supposed to educate people about disaster hazards and preparedness? The CERT Teams are also to be used in Search and Rescue, Medical Operations, Fire Safety, etc! What kind of game is Mestre playing?”
He followed up later with this when I asked him if he felt it was really necessary…..
“The questions are legit and I searched long and hard to find out what Mestre’s qualifications were and could find ZERO on the guy. In my opinion the public needs to consider safety vs political plugin’s. Was he appointed because he was friends with Roberts and the Chief?
As you know not everyone who is qualified gets the job, while others who have zero qualifications are appointed. Unfortunately that is a factor of life. Mestre did leave town many times primarily to party with the swat team and in my opinion sets a bad example as someone to look to in an emergency. He obviously was not on vacation, he was on official city business and in fact in his position had just as much power and authority as Lt. Andriani down there. He was appointed by the Mayor and City Council for the position.
Also consider from the news articles, cops had to pay to get onto the swat team. Mestre was a volunteer as claimed, yet why could the cops not just volunteer for the team? In addition the LaBruno money trail for the N.O. trip leads right to Mestre!”