FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell to Dedicate Emergency 911 Communications Center to Honor Former Commissioner Robert McMahon


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam CountyExecutive
(845) 808-1001

February 13, 2013

Odell to Dedicate Emergency 911 Communications Center to Honor Former Commissioner Robert McMahon

CountyExecutive MaryEllen Odell cordially invites members of the press and the public to attend as she dedicates the Emergency 911 Communications Center to honor Putnam’s former Commissioner of Emergency Services Robert McMahon. The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 25, 2013 at the Training and OperationsCenter, 112 Old Route 6, Donald B. Smith Campus, Carmel, NY.

The FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums will be present to open the ceremonies.

“I have had the great good fortune to enjoy a number of ‘highlight’ moments as County Executive and I must say being part of this celebration to honor Bob McMahon and re-name the 911 Communications Center to THE ROBERT MCMAHON EMERGENCY 911 COMMUNICATIONS CENTER will definitely be another ‘highlight’ moment for me,” said Odell.

Odell recalled meeting Commissioner McMahon when she was first elected to the Legislature in 2006. There she served as chairwoman on the Protective Services Committee for three years during which time she said McMahon’s “door was always open and he gave me the time I needed regardless of his own schedule.”

In 2011, following her election as CountyExecutive, Odell said she was stunned to receive a letter of resignation from McMahon.

“I was heartbroken, really taken back. I picked up the phone and asked him why was he resigning?  I told him I thought he was looking forward to working with me and putting some initiatives together,” she said.  

McMahon’s response to the county’s new leader was to say, “Boss, I’m doing what you are supposed to do when a new CE comes on. You can accept my resignation or you can refuse.”

“Bob McMahon is a gentleman. He embodies professionalism,” said Odell. “And in case he’s forgotten, he owes me a round of golf.” 

Prior to serving as part-time Deputy Fire Coordinator (July 1990 through January 1997), then as part-time Fire Coordinator (January 1997 through December 1999) and finally as  Commissioner of Emergency Services (January 2000 through August 2012), Robert McMahon’s record of service was most impressive. McMahon served in the Navy and retired from the Fire Department of New York. He is a registered nurse, a former chief and life member of the Lake Carmel Fire Department, a NYS and FEMA certified training instructor and a member of the Board of Putnam Hospital Center.

Under his leadership, the emergency services in Putnam were greatly enhanced and eventually evolved into the Bureau of Emergency Services whose efforts have proven so effective during recent major storms in our area. Through programs McMahon initiated which focused on the advanced training and education of EMS personnel, recruitment and volunteer retention soared. Today, the Center is staffed by highly trained, dedicated and professional deputy emergency services coordinators who act as liaisons to local fire and law enforcement departments as well as to emergency management teams and various county agencies.

It was during McMahon’s tenure as Commissioner of Emergency Services that the PutnamCountyFireTrainingCenter was expanded to include a three-story multi-purpose burn building training simulator. The Training and OperationsCenter was constructed allowing Putnam’s 911 Communications Center and the AllHazardsEmergencyOperationsCenter to be housed in a single state-of-the-art location.

Working with the County Executive’s office as well as the Legislature, the Office for Aging, the County Sheriff’s Department and the County Health Department, McMahon saw to the opening of warming centers in the winter and cooling centers in the summer for the elderly, the ill or those without electricity due to severe weather. Plans for county-wide shelters offering overnight facilities were also developed and generators were installed in many public buildings with federal grant money sought under McMahon’s direction.

“His extended family of PutnamCounty employees and emergency services responders wishes Bob years of relaxation and peace in his retirement. He deserves it,” said Odell. “Bob built a great legacy which will stand firm on his message of making sure the residents of Putnam are safe.”