In 1999, Dale Rowley, Emergency Management Director for the Town of Thorndike recognized that nearly every position in municipal government had an Association in Maine, except one – the Local Emergency Management Director. He felt that there needed to be a local Association. In bringing his idea to Richard Farris, the Waldo County EMA Director and County EM Director’s Council Chair, it was realized that the same idea had cropped up in York County. Robert Bohlmann, the York County EMA Director brought forth Pamela L’Heureux, the EM Director for the Town of Waterboro. Dale and Pam started the planning process to establish a new Association. In 2002, they met with the Communications Director for the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) and Art Cleaves, the Director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA); both stated strong support to such an endeavor.
In 2005, Dale wrote an article for the MEMA Messenger to promote the idea. On September 12, 2004, the first meeting was held with four municipal Emergency Managers. Dale made the motion to call the association the Maine Association of Local Emergency Managers or MALEM, a play on the name International Association of Emergency Managers. It was agreed and the name has stuck.
On January 29, 2009, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office approved the MALEM articles of incorporation. A few months later, the first admin contract was signed with MMA.
On April 25, 2009, on the eve of the first Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference in Augusta, eleven emergency managers met in Belfast to formally establish MALEM. The first By-Laws and Strategic Plan were approved. Pam L’Heureux was chosen President, Jim Dittmeier as Vice President, Dale Rowley as Treasurer, and Olga Rumney as Secretary.
On September 8, 2014, the IRS granted a 501(c)(3) tax exemption to MALEM.