Webster creates emergency management job
Hurricane Ike, swine flu and drought conditions have kept cities in the Clear Lake area plenty busy during the last year.
It was all enough to finally convince the city of Webster to have an employee focused solely on emergency management.
During its meeting last night, City Council approved the creation of a dedicated emergency management coordinator position, but decided against forming an emergency management department, City Manager Wayne Sabo said.
The emergency management coordinator will be part of the department of the city manager and report directly to Sabo.
There's so many requirements now," Sabo said. We can't handle it as an additional duty anymore. It's a full-time job."
Currently, Police Chief Ray Smiley is the city's emergency management coordinator, but that additional responsibly has become too burdensome, Sabo said.
He said he believes that City Council opted against his recommendation to create an emergency management department because it didn't want to have another city department.
Since the new emergency management coordinator position is in the city's proposed 2009-10 budget and not the current budget, Sabo will have to wait to fill it until the new budget is approved by City Council later this month.
But he said he already has a current city employee that he intends to appoint to the position.
Sabo declined to identify that employee, but said $161,000 is allocated for the position. That will pay for salary, benefits and training, he said.
The city's new emergency management coordinator will have lots of work to do. The city's 1,000-page emergency management plan must be updated to comply with a new 75-page state law, Sabo said.
There are also new requirements that will be coming from the National Incident Management System, he said.
It's going to be a full-time job to make sure that we stay compliant," Sabo said. We're also having to participate in daily webinars and telephone conferences for pandemic flu operations, redundancies, and reporting all the time. Plus, we're still dealing with Ike. It's overwhelming."
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