Omar Sims asks for review of county's "state of emergency" polic - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Omar Sims asks for review of county's "state of emergency" policy


(01/08/14) - Questions continue about why Genesee County leaders did not declare a local state of emergency following the potentially dangerous weather some are still experiencing.   

County Commissioner Omar Sims is asking for a review, and possibly changes, of the policy in place.     

Sims said he's concerned about the safety and welfare of county employees who had to travel to and from work.

Jamie Curtis, Chairman of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, said he will put a committee together to go over the local state of emergency policy.

He continues to defends his decision to only close county offices if the Governor declares a state of emergency in the state, which he didn't, but wants stakeholders - that's emergency management and road commission officials - along with county commissioners, to review where things stand.

Commissioner Brenda Clack is on board.

"We're going to resolve that," Clack said.

"What the outcome we're looking for is that it's very clear and understanding by Genesee County employees what is expected of them - the decision process, in the case of inclement weather, is up solely to that individual," Curtis said.

Curtis said employees can use a vacation, sick or personal day or even ask for an unpaid, excused absence.

Declaring a local state of emergency can allow communities to suggest travel restrictions and shut services down.

Curtis said union contracts don't address the issue, using the Sheriff's Department as an example.

"If I close the county and his paramedics do not come to work, he can't discipline them and he can't make them come. It's voluntary at that point and time and people will be paid to stay home, so it would give an incentive to stay home rather then come out in the inclement weather," Curtis said.

Curtis said Sheriff's Department staff answered 78 emergency, life-threatening calls, Monday alone.

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