Leyden emergency management director Galvis under fire

  • GALVIS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/13/2022 4:38:06 PM

LEYDEN — A resident has written the Selectboard with reasons she believes Dan Galvis, the town’s emergency management director who was recently given a base of operations at the Town Office building by the board, should be immediately terminated from his position.

Sara Seinberg, who filed her request Jan. 1, said she hopes a serious discussion on the matter will be placed on the agenda for a coming Selectboard meeting. Although the board had planned to meet Jan. 18, the meeting was canceled Thursday.

Galvis, formerly the police chief, and his wife, Capt. Gilda Galvis, retired from the Leyden Police Department days after the Selectboard shared the results of an Oct. 18 executive session meeting with Dan Galvis to review racist, misogynistic and xenophobic content from emails he shared with fellow town employees and officers between 2015 and 2016. The Galvises had been expected to retain their police positions until June.

Although Galvis is no longer the police chief, with the Police Department instead being led by Lt. Mike Aiken, he retains his position as emergency management director through June 30.

Seinberg, who is married to Finance Committee Chair Ginger Robinson, shared a list of reasons outlining why Galvis should be relieved of his emergency management director duties.

In addition to mentioning the racist email content, Seinberg alleges Galvis submits invoices for payment without indicating any work has been performed, hasn’t attended any Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee meetings since at least 2018, and has failed to turn over town property since his Oct. 28 retirement as police chief.

“If it’s not on the agenda, I certainly will bring it up in the public comment,” Seinberg said of her submission.

She also claimed there are financial and ethics violations on the table, and that Galvis endangers residents’ lives by instructing the Shelburne Control dispatch center to dispatch police only, rather than fire personnel as well.

Seinberg said Galvis is not qualified to be the emergency management director.

“It feels so obvious,” she said. “Those reasons are the reasons he’s not qualified.”

Repeated attempts to contact Galvis were unsuccessful.

Robinson, the Finance Committee chair, said Galvis has received $7,000 in emergency management director stipends since August 2018. The latest stipend, of $2,607.67, was approved by the Selectboard in December.

The Selectboard also voted last week to establish a room in the Town Office building at 7 Brattleboro Road as its emergency operations center’s primary location, with the previous spot having been turned over to the Highway Department. In his role as emergency management director, Galvis will use the room for training, radio communications and storage of emergency material.

Selectboard Chair Jeffrey Neipp said he believes the new emergency operations center in the Town Office building went into effect immediately after the board’s Jan. 3 vote.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recommends that communities have a primary emergency operations center and that a best practice is for communities to identify an alternate location, in the event that the primary one is unavailable. Galvis’ property on Greenfield Road serves as the secondary location for an emergency operations center. Neipp said this second location would be used only if needed during a catastrophe.

According to a MEMA spokesperson, MEMA does not issue requirements regarding emergency operations centers or their locations. However, communities that are in nuclear power plant Emergency Planning Zones (which Leyden was, but no longer is due to its proximity to the now decommissioned Vermont Yankee) are required to have an emergency operations center in case of something going wrong at the nuclear power plant. MEMA is not involved in the selection of emergency operations center locations, and each community is encouraged to identify locations that ensure the best functionality in that city or town.

Neipp said the Selectboard expects to appoint a new emergency management director at the end of the fiscal year. He said he has not given any thought as to who could replace Galvis.

Reach Domenic Poli at dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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