HISTORY OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF TENNESSEE
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Updated: September 16, 2020
EMAT Board of Directors HISTORICAL COMMITTEE:
Daryl Justice, Chairman
Donnie K. Smith, Member
The Executive Board met on January 17, 2011 with President-Elect Jimmy Floyd (Tullahoma) acting as Chairman in lieu of President Bill Brown. The new secretary, Janet Kelley (Hickman County) was present and the minutes were approved. The Treasurer's Report was given by Chairman Floyd and showed over $49,000 in the bank. Bills that were paid were pocket calendars from Myron Manufacture for $674 and $178.20 for QTH Communications for a 3-year renewal of the web site.
Dean Flenor from TEMA presented a new smart-phone application for emergency managers from TEMA. Three new CEMP's were approved: James Fountain, Jeremy Heidt of TEMA and Michael Harris of TEMA.
It was announced that TEMA could not sponsor K-9 missions due to legal and liability issues based on a recent decision from the insurance carrier. (Editor’s Note: The insurance carrier for K-9 activities had recently refused to renew their insurance coverage of EMAT due to potential claims from K-9 team members in the field, and TEMA discovered that the state could be sued if insurance did not cover the team.) It was recommended that K-9 deployment be requested as mutual aid county-to-county and covered by county insurance. Due to the same issues EMAT suspended its accreditation of the K-9 program and withdrew sponsorship. A notification letter was sent to all EMA's, Sheriff's Departments and handlers.
On February 9, 2011 President Bill Brown called the meeting to order and announced that the Treasurer could not attend. The bank balance remained at just over $49,000. It was announced that TEMA has requested a complete conference budget. It was determined that since conference registration requires more work than one person can do, so President Brown suggested that Tony Reavley (Chattanooga-Hamilton County) take over this process and use his staff to support the registration for the next conference.
The next conference will be held in Sevier County on September 11-13, 2011 for a cost of nearly $68,000. TEMA is prepared to issue a letter to cover training and quarters with no change in the grant amount, $70,000.
It was announced that HEPACO has agreed to provide the main "give-away" this year. A motion was approved to increase the vendor's fee to $50.
President-Elect Jimmy Floyd has agreed to place a notice on the web site of the change in the K-9 program.
Executive Officer Donnie Smith of TEMA and member of the CEMP committee accepted the job of registration this year and has started reviewing CEMP applications. The president was then notified by Mr. Smith of an over-payment of $11,663.14 (not fully $25,000) by the State of Tennessee to Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. The hotel agreed to apply this amount to the next conference.
An email was sent by Jody Zorsch to Secretary Janet Kelley on February 16, 2012 that Treasurer Danette Rolen was still at the hospital with a family member and could not attend the meeting.
On March 10, 2011 Chairperson Jody Zorsch called the Executive Board to order, and President Bill Brown joined later. The guest speaker was Larry Howlett, a CPA from Bowling Green, KY who explained how to organize a non-profit organization. He explained that the association could obtain his services for a fee of $150 per hour. He agreed to set up the association's tax returns and handle the financial accounts at no charge. Treasurer Danette Rolen was unable to attend.
It was announced by Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) that House bill 0544 passed through subcommittee and will appear before the full committee in five days. This is the bill that provides guidance for local emergency manager hiring and education requirements.
President-Elect Jimmy Floyd said he had received a letter from Director Jim Bassham of TEMA providing the $70,000 grant for the conference. The rules for spending these funds came in the letter.
TEMA Executive Officer Donnie Smith recommended improvements in the CEMP process to clarify the requirements. After TEMA's review at the Director’s office only, the nominations for approval will be submitted to the board.
A motion was passed to scan all CEMP applications older than 6 years and then archive them. This archive requirement went to TEMA for implementation since the data was in the TEMA computers. The Training Division was never happy with this requirement, and it did not take place.
On April 14, 2011 President-Elect Jody Zorsch opened the regular meeting of the EMAT Executive Board. Chairman Zorsch noted that the Treasurer's Report shows a balance of $38,76.86 as of March 31, 2011, but there were expenditures of $170.89 for speaker travel, $1000 for conference expenses, and $500 for printing and postage, and a deposit of $150 from membership renewals.
Former president Janice Newman, who joined the meeting in progress, reported that she has the conference packet ready for mailing. It was also recommended to send a letter or email (reminder to attend) to those receiving an award at the conference.
A request was made that EMAT send TEMA a registration list for EMAT renewals and conference registrations. It should be noted that a letter of invitation has been sent to directors who are not currently EMAT members.
A venders list has been prepared for the hotel, and a registration process has been developed to hold down member confusion.
Acting President Jody Zorsch has agreed to get with Kingsport to begin to put together a packet together for next year's conference. The speaker will be from the Federal Aviation Authority. President Zorsch has agreed to arrange for a speaker on the Sullivan County High School shooting.
Edwin Hogan reports that the association should have 501c(3) recognition by midsummer.
Maury County EMA Director Mark Blackwood has been nominated for CEMP approval and the motion passed to recognize him for CEMP level. Donnie Smith said the CEMP rules and guidelines are now on the web site.
Chairman Ricky Graves reported that EMPG was fully funded and was not cut. He said EMAT legislation did not pass during this session and requires more local director involvement.
Patsy Hargis, K-9 Subcommittee, reported that K-9 training continues every Tuesday. A discussion ensued regarding coverage of K-9 dogs deployed by counties or TEMA. It was recommended to get an Attorney General opinion on this issue.
A motion was passed to set up an EMAT booth at the DOE Emergency Management Forum in Oak Ridge on September 8, 2011.
On June 30, 2011 the association bank balance was $43,0992.43.
On July 21, 2011, Acting President Jody Zorsch reported that there is a balance of $43,092.43 on hand with expenditures this past month of $1,345.00 for the conference speaker, $850.00 for the application to the US Department of the Treasury for IRS 501(c)(3) status, $500 to the CPA, Valerie Kemp Dreier, for filing fee, and a $15 bank analysis fee. The hotel has a credit of $11,663.14 against the next conference. President Zorsch asked Donnie Smith if TEMA can provide CEU’s with the certificates at the conference, and he said he would work the issue.
Donnie Smith reported that EMAT has received 43 applications for CEMP so far. President Zorsch said she would send a reminder through EMAT for others to submit their applications. A letter from Director James H. Bassham, TEMA, was received by President Zorsch that provides the foundation for using state funds to “help diminish the impact of incidents and catastrophes,” and goes on to say that “TEMA will support significant training of county emergency managers, directors, responders and other employees who are in the business of saving lives and protecting property.” This letter underpins the decision by Director Bassham to provide up to $70,000 as a grant to support training during the TEMA/EMAT conference.
The discussion moved to the conference, and Chairman John Smoot (Benton County) deferred to Ricky Graves (Gibson County). Mr. Graves moved to accept the draft EMAT conference agenda and the motion carried. Donnie Smith provided the board with the TEMA rules for reimbursement, and a copy was sent to the conference hotel. A recommendation was made to change the website to state that attendees should go through their local directors to reduce confusion on lodging expenses. FEMA will not reimburse volunteers at the conference (due to the type of money applied to training). Individuals arriving on Sunday night need to make their own reservations, and it is possible the state rates may not apply. Venders must make their own reservations, but they will be included under EMAT and state rates.
President-Elect Bill Brown is working on next year’s conference location to be in Gatlinburg (September).
Samples of EMAT gifts to the membership were reviewed, and the board agreed upon a backpack costing $19.49 each. Conference Chairman John Smoot said he will check with HEPACO regarding possible sponsorship and look at perhaps supplying something inside the backpack. Some items that were suggested were flashlights, an auto organizer, a first aid kit, and a notebook.
President Zorsch said that male board members should wear a polo shirt and female board members will wear a long sleeve shirt at the conference so members will know their officers. Janice Newman was charged with e-mailing a web site to members to review their choices between hunter green, black and royal blue with a decision due at the next meeting to ensure an order in time for the conference.
A motion was made and passed to recognize vendors by name at the Tuesday luncheon.
A review of the conference menu and choices will be made at the next meeting.
Treasurer Danette Rolen reported that she has received a notice from the IRS that our application for 501(c)(3) status has been received and will be reviewed for approval.
Chairman of Constitution and By-Laws Edwin Hogan reported that an update of the by-laws is ready for mail out. A motion was made and carried to reimburse him for printing and postage.
Legislative Chairman Ricky Graves reported that the legislation that had been needed for so long had been passed as of May 30, 2011 (finalization of the emergency management director bill). He said the sponsors were Representatives Halford, Hardaway, Evans, Sanderson and Senator Finney. A plaque of recognition is proposed for presentation to these sponsors. A motion was made by Janice Newman not to spend more than $50 per plaque. The motion passed. A motion was also passed to support Chairman Graves to start working on funding the legislation.
K-9 Subcommittee Chair Patsy Hargis reported that Shane Petty of Tennessee State Parks called TEMA on the July 4th weekend with a K-9 assistance request to search for two missing persons at Rock Island. Lisa Crowter and K-9 “Bobby Joe” and Heather Wilkerson and K-9 “Be-Be” responded to the call. Both dogs made a hit in the same area which narrowed the search to the Blue Hole area where they found the bodies the next day. She also reported that K-9 training continues.
An announcement was made about DOE holding its Emergency Management Forum in Oak Ridge on September 8, 2011.
President Jody Zorsch opened the Executive Board meeting at the SEOC in Nashville, TN on August 16, 2011. The financial report was presented by the president since the treasurer was not present. The cash on hand is now $83,658.99.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves reported that there is no action pending by the committee, although he recommended that the board move forward with recognizing the members of the legislature who helped pass the local emergency management director’s education bill.
Constitution and By-Laws Committee Chairman Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) reported that the latest revision to the by-laws was now posted on the web site.
Awards Committee Chairman James Medling reported that only 2 nominees were submitted for awards, one for print media and one for broadcast media. He announced that the Bill Hyder Award will be presented to Roger Allen, EMA director of Rutherford County. A suggestion was made to study the possibility of giving an award to an elected official who furthers the cause of EMAT. The motion was carried.
The K-9 Subcommittee report was presented by Chairperson Patsy Hargis who discussed the status of insurance and the status of responses in West and Middle Tennessee. Several issues surrounding volunteers were discussed, and the board asked that a special study group be established to look at this area. Jimmy Floyd (Tullahoma EMA) was appointed as chairman and the members named were Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison), Deborah Burnett, Cecil Whaley (TEMA), Ricky Graves (Gibson County) and Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County).
Janice Newman, Conference Registration Subcommittee Chairperson said the number of people who had registered was low, but many counties have not had their budgets approved and may be waiting for that to happen before applying for travel to the conference. She expects the number to improve after September.
John Smoot, Vendors Subcommittee Chairman, said he had provided vendors with a code number for the conference so it would be easier to separate them from the membership registering at the front desk.
Jody Zorsch, the Conference Meals and Clothing Subcommittee Chairperson, said lunch and evening meal menus had been selected. She also said shirts had been selected and announced.
TEMA prepared the training agenda for the conference, so Deputy Director Charlie Bryant presented the board with a draft copy of the training schedule. After a long discussion regarding subject matter and funding, Mr. Bryant said he and other board members would work on finalizing the agenda and submit the results back to the board for approval.
Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) reported that CEU certificates would be given to those attending the conference combined with the training certificates. It was also announced that for any directors who have EMPG requirements for training based on grants, the exercise scheduled in the latter part of the conference would be counted as one of the three exercises required for the 2012 year’s training. This decision would be placed on the EMAT web site, he said.
On August 31, 2011, the bank balance was $54,449.45.
On September 12, 2011, President Jody Zorsch called the Executive Board to order and skipped the Treasurer’s Report since Danette Rolen was not present. President Zorsch reported she had purchased airline tickets for the conference speaker from Fort Hood. Immediate Past President Janice Newman reported she had deposited $7000 in conference deposits.
President Zorsch reported that the conference shirts for officers had arrived and are ready for issue. Members of the board should wear the blue shirt on Monday, white on Tuesday, and blue on Wednesday.
The conference agenda was reviewed and revised, and it was announced that the training certificates would grant 12 CEU’s for training attendance. Reservation acceptance letters had not yet been mailed, President Zorsch said they were being worked on. An attendance list was announced to be provided to the hotel to compare the names on those members who have arrived for registration. Pictures will not be on the conference ID’s (identification cards) this year, but the ID cards will be printed prior to check-in and presented at registration. The ID’s will be scanned for sign-in at registration, the dinner meal, and the tabletop exercise. There is a list of names already prepared for those who should help at registration and for those needing to arrive early on Sunday for a meeting at noon. Janice Newman is bringing plaques for awards. Chairperson Zorsch, Janice Newman, and Secretary Kelly will visit the local Chamber of Commerce for local items to be placed in the gift baskets for speakers. “Hillbilly hoagies” and London broil have been chosen for lunch and dinner. Breaks will occur in the Vendor’s Room. Ron Watkins (Henry County) has agreed to print certificates for vendors. TEMA will print the training certificates for conference attendees. A motion was passed to have Ron purchase and distribute 300 calendars for the year 2012. HEPACO has agreed to sponsor 300 laptop bags, but a review should determine what the bags will look like. A motion was made and passed to select a black and silver bag for EMAT handout at registration.
Copies of the revised EMAT constitution and by-laws have gone out to the members for review in time for the floor vote.
A discussion occurred on how to recognize committee members for their service to EMAT, and John Riley suggested that they be listed on the EMAT web site as well as be recognized at the conference.
Chairperson Zorsch said the EMAT (Directors’) display board (plaque) is in extremely poor condition, and it was recommended that it be donated it to someone to try to refurbish it (ha!). It was decided that the board check on costs and submit a report at next meeting. John Smoot requested that he take possession of the board and pass it to Jody to bring to the next meeting. Chairperson Zorsch requested to use the West Tennessee board at the conference.
On September 30, 2011 the bank balance for the association was $70,492.49.
On October 3, 2011 an executive board meeting was held by President Bill Brown, but there were no minutes to support the events of that meeting.
The EMAT/TEMA Training Conference was held in Murfreesboro, TN on October 10-12, 2011 with the theme of "Lessons Learned." The principle featured speaker was a person directly involved in the Fort Hood shooting. Other speakers were from the FAA with the topic "handling a plane crash in your jurisdiction." The registration amount was set at $125. Jimmy Floyd (Tullahoma EMA) became President-Elect at the end of the conference, but regional vice presidents were not recorded.
President Jody Zorsch called the Executive Board to order and read the Treasurer’s Report with $63,901.22 in the bank. This amount did not include arrivals at the conference who had not yet paid. Constitution and By-Laws Chairman Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) reviewed the changes proposed to the by-laws, but they were not read into the minutes. Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves reported that the education legislation for emergency management “managers” and directors had been passed into law.
A letter from TEMA to President Bill Brown on October 28, 2011 confirmed Director Jim Bassham’s intent to support EMAT again by officially authorizing a grant of up to $70,000 to support expenses of training local emergency management personnel and responders. EMAT was able to utilize $64,800 of this grant at the conference. President Brown said when the contract arrives from the hotel, it must be forwarded to Melisa Hucks for review before signature. TEMA has also agreed to assist with sound, projection, information technology issues, etc. Charlie Bryant has requested EMAT provide a diagram of the main room for the conference. A generic agenda is requested to be placed on the web site. Already, two guest speakers have been scheduled, a vendor briefing has been scheduled and giveaway calendars have been ordered. Vender packets are ready to be sent out by Monday at the latest. President Brown also announced that member registration must be accomplished by August 10 or EMAT will not pay for the rooms.
Louis Friedman (TEMA Operations) announced an upcoming Interoperability Conference on June 21-22 and encouraged attendance at the Cool Springs Marriott (Nashville).
Chairman Ricky Graves reported that the local director's education bill has been passed and recorded as TCA 58-2-133. It was reported as requiring local directors to receive training in hazardous materials awareness.
A motion was approved for Janice Newman to spend up to $50 for a memorial item to Ron Watkins (Paris) due to the passing of his mother.
A motion was approved for President-Elect Jimmy Floyd to spend up to $300 for tax preparation.
In spite of all the troubles announced with seeing the emergency management education legislation passed, the bill finally did pass. A copy of the law was read into the minutes (TCA 58-2-133 and changed later to TCA 58-2-127). To summarize, it required the following prerequisites for appointment: Applicants must be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of Tennessee and the United States, be a high school graduate or equivalent, not have any record of felony, must have a valid Tennessee driver's license, and must have at least four years of experience in emergency management, or two years’ experience and an associate's degree, or have a baccalaureate degree. There are many duties, skills and abilities a director is identified as needing, plus duties and responsibilities were listed. The law requires that within two years of appointment an appointee must have completed the TEMA hazardous materials operations level course, damage assessment workshop, and any NIMS courses that are offered during the two-year period (implied that TEMA will define these). The appointee was also required to complete FEMA independent study courses, apply for professional certification in a timely manner and stay current.
On October 31, 2011 the bank balance was $69,818.11.
On November 10, 2011 President Bill Brown called the Executive Board to order and approved the Treasurer’s Report from Danette Rolen, $70,155.85 before paying the hotel.
President Brown then named new committee members and announced new assignments: President-Elect Jimmy Floyd (Coffee County); Treasurer Danette Rolen (Sevier County); Assistant Treasurer Jody Zorsch (Morgan County); Secretary Janet Kelley (Hickman County); Donnie Smith, TEMA Liaison (Rutherford County); Awards Chairman James Medling (Dyer County); Conference Chairman Ron Watkins (Henry County); Membership Chairman John Riley (Coffee County); K-9 Chairman Jimmy Floyd (Coffee County); Oversight Chairman John Smoot (Benton County); CEMP Chairman Jimmy Floyd (Coffee County); and Legislative Chairman Ricky Graves (Gibson County).
Questions were raised regarding the rules to follow for EMAT-recognized K-9 teams. A motion was passed to have K-9 Subcommittee Chairperson Patsy Hargis to bring in the original K-9 standards, guidelines and policy used to certify K-9 teams.
Treasurer Danette Rolen received a notice from Becky Vealy of Embassy Suites for a charge of $5,160.00. It is uncertain if this amount was included in the total charges being reviewed by TEMA. Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) will follow up on this issue with Becky. The board received a notice from TEMA regarding the bills from Embassy Suites stating that EMAT should pay a balance of $19,717.57 to Embassy Suites, but TEMA will pay the balance of $70,000 as agreed. TEMA will not include the cost of TEMA memberships in the $70,000 cap. A motion to approve this payment was passed.
President-Elect Rickey Graves visited River Terrace Hotel in Gatlinburg and recommended that we hold the conference there in 2012. A motion was passed to approve River Terrace Hotel for 2012 followed by a motion to schedule the conference for September 18-20 or September 11-13. The motion passed. It was recommended that door prizes be purchased prior to the conference. HEPACO notified the board that they would like to sponsor the 2012 conference. It was moved and passed to allow the Treasurer, Danette Rolen, to spend up to $500 on door prizes through the year.
Following this a discussion ensued regarding whether to charge for a single day attendance at the 2012 conference. It was decided to charge for this and show that on the registration form. The motion passed to charge $50 per day.
A motion was approved for the conference theme of “Listen, Learn, then Lead in Tennessee” was presented by CEMP Committee Chairman Jimmy Floyd and it carried.
Shortly after this meeting an undated letter from Sherri Webb, Sales Manager, at River Terrance Resort, Gatlinburg, verified the next conference dates as September 10-12 or 11-13 for 205 rooms.
On December 5, 2011, EMAT received a notice from Patsy Hargis (Bell Buckle) that she could no longer serve as coordinator of services for K-9 handlers on a statewide basis. Her reasons or concerns were the lack of liability coverage for civilian volunteer K-9 handlers and no understanding of the K-9 program.
On December 5, 2011, President-Elect Jimmy Floyd convened the Executive Board on this date, but no minutes exist of the meeting.
An email from Ms. Becky Vealy, Director of Sales and Marketing, Embassy Suites Hotel, was sent to President Bill Brown on December 7, 2011 notifying him that a refund of $6,503.14 was due to EMAT, but the check would need to be processed through the corporate office and that would take 2-3 weeks. She said a check would be sent to the Treasurer in Pigeon Forge, TN when it was issued.
On April 3, 2012, President-Elect Jimmy Floyd (Interoperable Communications Officer, Coffee County EMA&HS) requested a voided check and an exempt-status letter from the state to update the association’s 501(c)3 status. He said address changes were required for the change of Treasurer address.
On April 19, 2012, President Bill Brown reported a balance of $63,229.09, which includes the Embassy Suites refund. There was no quorum at the last meeting, but there are 12 in attendance at this meeting.
Donnie Smith (TEMA), member of the CEMP Committee and acting for Chairman Tyler Smith, submitted Gary Rogers (Perry County) for approval of CEMP.
Jody Zorsch turned in a packet for Gary Beazley of TEMA to be reviewed for CEMP approval.
On May 10, 2012, President Brown called the meeting to order and received the Treasurer's Report from President-Elect Jimmy Floyd. The balance on hand was given as $63,071.35 (in the black). The conference was then brought up by reflecting on all registration forms having been received. He said if someone needs to use a credit card, they will need to see Jody Zorsch. TEMA's list of attendees will be forthcoming with payment to the hotel. The conference agenda is nearly complete. A count was taken of those needing shirts for the conference. The next meeting is set for June 21 at the Marriott Cool Springs Hotel.
On July 12, 2012, President Brown called the meeting to order and received the Treasurer’s Report submitted by Danette Rolen, Treasurer, (who was not present) with a balance of $65,170.60, but the SunTrust Bank statement as of July 11, 2012 reflected a balance of $72,986.53. There was no discussion regarding why the amounts were different. Gary Beazley of TEMA was approved for CEMP recognition. The conference agenda will be ready for review at the next meeting, and the conference menu must be discussed. Legislative Chairman Rickey Graves promised to check on the cost of hiring a lobbyist for the association. (Editor’s Note: This later proved to be outside the purview of an IRS 501(c)(3) organization which can provide information but cannot lobby.) Donnie Smith, TEMA Liaison, provided the TEMA membership numbers, 111 members. IPAWS has been added to the conference training agenda.
On September 11, 2012, President-Elect Jimmy Floyd opened the EMAT membership meeting (on the floor) at Gatlinburg, TN (Westgate River Terrace Resort, new owner hotel title change) and received the Treasurer's report. Total income was stated as $70,563.19 and expenses as $31,359.24, showing a profit margin of $39,203.95. Total liabilities and equity were shown as $104,131.17. The Treasurer’s Report by Jody Zorsch showed $100, 351.39 cash in the bank.
It was reported that the bill for the Edgewater (overflow hotel) had been paid, but the final bill from the River Terrace (old name) is still pending.
President Floyd made several officer changes. Alan Lendley was appointed as Legislative Committee Chairman; Jeremy Holly was appointed to Constitution and By-Laws Committee; Faye George Morse (Cannon County) was made Conference Committee Chairperson; James Medling remained Awards Committee Chairman, John Riley was VOAD Chairman, and Mac Purdy was appointed CEMP Committee Chairman. Elected positions were Tony Reavley and President-Elect, West Tennessee Vice President Jamison Peevyhouse, Middle Tennessee Vice President Mac Purdy, and East Tennessee Vice President John Mathews. Jody Zorsch remained Assistant Treasurer and Janet Kelley remained Secretary.
Past President Bill Brown was recognized for his service a president in 2012.
General Jim Bassham, director of TEMA, attended the meeting and recognized the excellent presentation Jim Thacker (TEMA) had made to the conference. He suggested that EMAT notify the membership of the 2013 conference as soon as possible to allow TEMA time to identify the funding streams needed to support the next training conference.
President Floyd announced that the EMAT-supported legislation passed last year needs a little clean-up, and he implied that he would lead that effort. His reference referred to the bill’s different ways a local director would be qualified if newly hired to a position. In the language of the act, any one of the following would qualify a person who:
Is a high school graduate or possesses equivalency.
Has graduated and received a baccalaureate degree.
Has graduated and received an associates degree and possesses at least two years of experience in an emergency management or related field.
Possesses at least four years experience in an emergency management or related field.
Is serving as a director of a local emergency management agency on July 1, 2011.
The impact of this is that any other person picks up an educational
requirement by law upon being hired.
His feeling was that only the minimum requirement was necessary to be said (the first bullet) and that the other lines were unnecessary and confused the issue. The last bullet item was, in fact, necessary to provide a grandfather clause for currently serving directors to waive new education requirements. The law was never changed (fear of getting something worse).
Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) reported that the commissioner of Financial Institutions, Greg Gonzales, had recommended that local banks and local emergency managers work together to prepare a disaster plan. He has suggested this issue be brought up at the TEMA regional director’s meetings.
CEMP Chairman Mac Purdy announced his intention to insert CEMP completions in the TEMA database and track all of the new additions by computer. He said he wanted to create a training committee that would combine with the CEMP committee to develop plans and suggested this would require a change in the by-laws. A motion was passed to change the CEMP Committee to the CEMP and Training Committee. The database was started, but not maintained.
President Floyd said he would like the board to work on a new vision for the coming year and find a way to remove the walls (or divisions) that exist between emergency responders (that is, law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service, and East, Middle and West Tennessee emergency management) and formulate a policy to ensure it is maintained.
A motion was passed to have the Treasurer to open a new savings account and to create a new post office box. The intent was to have Bill Cooper of TEMA receive mail and deliver it to the box (and pick it up for the board). A question arose as to whether the association has paid its taxes or even filed. No one knew, but it would be investigated.
A motion was passed to hold the next conference in Jackson, TN (2013 conference). President Floyd said the Doubletree and Conference Suites are the recommended hotels. A conference period of September 10-12 is recommended.
An e-mail from Valerie Kemp Dreier, CPA, arrived on November 6, 2012 asking several questions about the 501(c)(3) status and then reporting to IRS. Questions were presented regarding the number of Forms 1099 filed, any wages on Forms W2, the number of voting members in the governing body, the number who are independent (not being paid), will the governing board get a Form 990, is there a written conflict of interest policy in place and whether members are required to disclose annually (and enforcement policy), is there a written whistleblower policy, is there a written retention and destruction policy, how are tax returns and other documents made available to the public (paper copies), the physical address and telephone number of the person in possession of the financial books and records, and for each officer, listing the average hours per week worked on organization issues and projects and the reportable compensation from the organization, whether any contributor gave over $5000 to the organization during the year and name, address and amount given. Each of these questions were required to be answered to meet IRS requirements for 501(c)(3) status.
On November 8, 2012 President Floyd convened the board in Gatlinburg to discuss the 2012 conference and the 2013 conference following. Karen Bibee of TEMA attended this meeting for Donnie Smith, TEMA liaison, who due to state policy could not travel at that time.
On November 16, 2012 President Floyd called a special EMAT Executive Board meeting by conference call on November 19, 2012 to authorize someone to conduct financial business for the organization, to purchase new checks with an updated address and to take care of “other urgent financial business.” He said that a quorum was required to conduct this meeting and that EMAT could not move the money in the bank in Gatlinburg until ownership was changed. Ownership was shown as Danette Rolen, James Barnes and Diane Pryor.
On November 19, 2012 the special teleconference was convened with a quorum on-line. President Floyd said that banking information had not been updated in several years and reported again what he had said in his e-mail about who was authorized to handle EMAT funds. Members who were present on-line were Jimmy Floyd, Jody Zorsch, Tony Reavley, Janet Kelley, John Mathews, James Medling, Jeremy Holley, and Bill Brown. Donnie Smith, a non-voting member, was also present on-line. President Floyd received a motion, which was passed, to remove the original names from the bank and replace them with Jimmy Floyd, Tony Reavley and Jody Zorsch. It was also decided (and passed) to order new checks with a new EMAT address shown. Although not clear at the time, this meeting effectively changed the principal Treasurer position to be Jody Zorsch. There was no other financial business.
On December 20, 2012, President Jimmy Floyd convened the Executive Board and asked if there were any corrections to the minutes. None were submitted, and the Treasurer’s Report was presented by Jody Zorsch. No corrections were recommended. Both reports were approved. Jody said she had ordered new checks and had sent John Mathews some deposit forms so he could make deposits. Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) reported that TEMA would again cover expenses for the 2012 training conference. He said TEMA is preparing to pay the invoice.
President Floyd pulled the old CEMP document form off the website to update it and said he will have the executive board approve the changes when they are finished.
President-Elect John Mathews said he has a meeting set up with Danette Rolen on December 21. He wants to start a new membership list, and President Floyd said he had approved some new members on the website. He reported 285 members on the EMAT e-mail list. A discussion ensued regarding the current membership process, and the board decided to change the membership year from a fiscal year to a calendar year. More discussion was heard to extend the current membership year to cover the entire 2013 calendar year (without charge), and this plan was approved unanimously.
Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) said that if anyone wants to change the CEMP program (since there were several discussions about changes and the current rules), he needs to know as soon as possible. He recommended a working committee to approve CEMP applications. President Floyd said he would get with Mac Purdy to see if he has made any progress with CEMP. President Floyd said TEMA will focus on air space control with the FAA in upcoming exercises TNCAT-13, TNCAT-14 and also on HAZMAT LEPC electronic reporting submissions.
There were 46 responses to the 2012 conference survey questions, and Jeremy Holley will re-send the survey to the EMAT mailing list to try to obtain as many other members as possible. There was no indication regarding trends.
A preliminary contract had been received for the 2013 conference to be held in Jackson. The Doubletree Hotel had 130 rooms, the Conference Suites had 50, and the
All Suites Hotel had 50 rooms. Regular rooms were $77 per night, suites were $99. The Doubletree will comp one room for every 25 booked. The Doubletree has one small conference room. The dates for the conference were set for September 9-12, and the president asked for a motion to approve the dates. The president also asked for a motion to set vendor rates at the previous level. These motions were approved.
The association came up 75 flash drives short for attending association members as a conference gift, so President Floyd asked for a motion to buy more USBs. The motion to purchase 75 more flash drives was passed.
Jim Bassham, Director of TEMA, and the creator of the expanded emergency operations center and crisis management team, retired in the first months of 2013. During his tenure, the state of Tennessee emergency management program was accredited and then re-accredited, a signal accomplishment. EMAT presented him with its highest award, the Hyder Award, a very rare event for a TEMA director. He earned almost universal praise by his insistence on centralized control with de-centralized execution and consistently focusing on education as a steppingstone to success. Emergency management operations excelled during the 10 years he was director, professionalism of emergency managers improved, and the gains mentioned significantly advanced the safety of the citizens of Tennessee. Due to his contributions, the State Emergency Operations Center (known colloquially as “the pit”) was named the James H. Bassham EOC. Many states have subsequently recognized Tennessee as a leader in emergency management due to General Bassham’s innovations and strong support of the counties.
Retiring from TEMA two months after Jim Bassham had departed (end of April), Executive Officer Donnie Smith who had completed 10 years of state service that month was appointed as Secretary of the association by President Tony Reavley. Just prior to retirement, Smith was presented the EMAT Achievement Award and was recognized for being team leader for the implementation of NIMS in the state and each county after obtaining Governor Phil Bredesen’s proclamation and for his work as team leader for EMAP (emergency management accreditation program) state accreditation, and then co-team leader for EMAP re-accreditation. He was noted as coordinator for TEMA legal issues, official liaison to EMAT from TEMA, active conference registration and front desk support, TEMA contact for CEMP applications and review, and for performing many other duties that supported EMAT.
Both Bassham and Smith were present at the conference in Jackson.
On March 14, 2013 President Jimmy Floyd called the Executive Board to order with the first order of business being the discussion of an update to the by-laws, specifically Article 4, Section 1 (membership fees). President Floyd asked the Constitution and By-Laws Committee to present recommendations by next meeting. A new membership certificate was created by John Riley who said he would e-mail a copy of the certificate to the board for approval. He also said he is updating contact information on all 300 members in the process (where possible). The CEMP Committee reported collecting $500 for applications since the first of the year and is creating a brochure to help members to understand the application process for CEMP. President Floyd believes that many people get “hung up” many hours in writing the narrative and suggests that we should create a sample narrative. Donnie Smith reported that there are 29 states that are accredited for EMAP (Emergency Management Accreditation Program), and that we should encourage the counties in Tennessee to become EMAP accredited, too. President Floyd said we need to do a conference site visit, and he will contact the affected board members with an e-mail to set up a date. He said that training will need to be “laid down” for the conference, and the agenda needs to be completed. He suggested that the registration needs to be on Monday and Tuesday of the conference. He said that giveaways would need to be ordered, and that flash drives and calendars were the only gifts selected. Still, he said he wanted some other ideas.
Minutes for the April-August 2013 period are missing due to a computer crash.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The 2013 Conference was held in Jackson on September 12, 2013 with the theme, “Listen, Learn, then Lead.” The Jackson conference saved a great deal of money and helped the association to stabilize fiscally. President Floyd was a communications specialist in Tullahoma, but when he moved to Madison County, he served in Operations. The meeting facilitator for the full membership meeting was President Floyd, and he reported cash on hand was $118,265.62. He would later be hired as a communications specialist for TEMA. Janet Kelley of Hickman County was appointed Secretary of EMAT.
On September 12, 2013 President Floyd called the membership of the conference to order and approved the minutes from the 2012 Gatlinburg conference meeting (apparently a comparative review of the previous conference to improve the next one) and approved the current Financial Report. The financials showed $70,100.57 in a certificate of deposit and $22,113.72 in checking and $26,051.33 in savings, a total of $118, 265.62 in liquid assets. President Floyd introduced the 2012-2013 Executive Board members and the committee chairs. He gave a special recognition to Faye Morris (Cannon County) and Jody Zorsch on a job well done in planning the 2013 conference and workshop. A discussion ensued regarding the upcoming election of officers for 2013-2014, specifically the President-Elect and the Vice Presidents. John Mathews explained the changes to the annual membership dues and announced the dues would track from January 1 to December 31. Those who have paid their dues for this membership year will be extended membership for the remainder of the year to December 31, 2014. To date, EMAT has 333 current members with 170 conference attendees of which 150 are active members.
A “Walking Tall” stick was presented to Lee Ann Duke, Director of Sales and Catering, Double Tree Hilton and Mary Ross, Catering and Sales Manager, Double Tree Hilton for their outstanding support of the Jackson conference. President Floyd then addressed the members with a little “food for thought.” He said Tennessee is divided into three regions, East, Middle and West, but we are one state. He said great progress has been made in removing divisional walls, and we need to continue this work on bringing everyone into one region and one state with no boundaries to divide us.
The floor was opened for nominations for President-Elect when John Mathews’ (Sevier County) name was put forward. No other nominations were made, and he was accepted by acclamation. Then, the members were asked to gather in their respective regional caucus and then vote for vice presidents. East Region (with 21 members present) nominated Bill Brown (Greene County). Middle Region (with 46 members present) nominated Jeremy Holley (Giles County). West Region (with 8 members present) nominated Tommy Dunivant (Tipton County). All nominations were accepted without further discussion.
Then new President Tony Reavley gave a special recognition to Jimmy Floyd for his leadership and hard work as EMAT President in 2013.
On October 2, 2013 the Treasurer’s Report showed $105,321.74 in cash assets. The conference budget was not balanced, however, showing expenses of $18,839.92 and a deficit of $14,975.29. This continued the normal procedure of using membership fees to fund the conference.
Minutes for November 2013-December 2014 are missing due to a computer crash.
In the 2014 conference, John Mathews (Sevier County) became President. President Mathews proposed a formal change of name for the EMAT Executive Board to become the EMAT Board of Directors, and he proposed to extend the term of the President by a year to allow for executive programs to be introduced and implemented before changing officers. President Mathews took action to improve many other procedures of the association using the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) to improve efficiency.
He appointed Jody Zorsch as Treasurer of the association.
Upon appointment President Mathews immediately held a meeting during which he captured the thoughts and ideas of the board members for goals for the coming year, and after the barnstorming session collected these ideas into 9 points of emphasis, each being given a committee chairman (chairperson) with specific goals to achieve:
Membership Committee -
Develop a map of the state to show EM Directors who belong to EMAT and who should be encouraged to join EMAT
Push for 100% county EMPG membership
Strategic Planning (Long Range Planning) Committee -
Develop a program of instruction for new EM Directors (EMD 101)
Develop a program of instruction for county PIO’s
Finance, Ways & Means Committee -
Prepare a budget that shows the conference supporting itself
Standards, Training & CEMP Committee -
Develop a training plan for regional training (by May)
Prepare to train new directors in EMD 101 (by July)
Historical Committee -
Relocate existing EMAT records, office equipment, records, furniture and plaques to the new EMAT office in TEMA
Acquire a computer, network line and keys to the EMAT office
Create the EMAT President’s Roll of Honor Plaque in TEMA and locate it in the EMAT office within TEMA
Prepare a list of past Hyder Award recipients (back to 2012)
Awards & Nominations Committee -
Develop a protocol for presentation of EMAT awards
Develop a plan to take CEMP recipients’ photos
Utilize the EMAT PIO to distribute award information to the media
Develop a new EMAT Service Award for directors
Conference Committee -
Announce the Conference theme early (by January)
Submit earlier invitations to the vendors for better attendance
Develop a 2016 Conference neutral balanced budget (by January)
Prepare a request for proposal for the 2017 conference (by March)
Announce a date and location for the 2017 conference (by July)
Develop a “Pass the Gavel” process (before the conference)
Review 2015 membership surveys (before the conference)
Constitution & By-Laws Committee -
Be prepared to develop changes presented by the board
Write new by-laws and place them on-line (web site)
Legislative Committee -
Set a date for EMAT Day on the Hill (Third week in February)
Promote EMAT Day on the Hill to achieve 25 or more attendees
Coordinate a room at the Legislative Plaza for EM directors to meet for EMAT Day on the Hill
Prepare handouts and props as necessary
Amend TCA to define “first responders”
Obtain bill sponsors (already done: Senator Janice Boling/ Representative Curtis Halford agreed to sponsor legislation
Consider the impact of drones and whether further guidance is required
Determine the feasibility of a fulltime executive director by 2018
President Mathews accomplished most of these goals and set others in motion to be accomplished. Some goals such as reaching 100% county EMPG enrollment could not be achieved since some counties would not agree to make the match of local funds to federal funds to be enrolled ($10,000 total initially). He revitalized the committees and checked on their progress in achieving objectives.
President Mathews also changed the EMAT fiscal year to January 1 through December 31 and created a Strategic Planning Committee with a Five Year Calendar, he deleted the VOAD committee (which he felt was represented through an ESC in TEMA), and he created a Historical Committee (to provide a measurement tool for progress and to improve tracking of programs) which was confirmed by vote of the membership at the 2015 conference.
With the approval of the membership body, the years of service change went into effect immediately and extended the incumbent to 2016. The 2016 platform was essentially an extension of the original 2015 platform, but with a re-focus of emphasis on passing legislation to enhance responder benefits.
Since the bill to define emergency management failed, great effort was placed in succeeding months upon information to legislators to understand why there was a need to define “emergency management first responders” and to add a benefit of $25,000 to the bill for the families of an emergency responder killed in an emergency. The cost, although not large by state budgetary standards, eventually saw the bill pigeon-holed.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The bill was finally passed in 2019.)
Political weakness became a catalyst for the president to push for a joint effort to link up with the Tennessee County Services Association (TCSA), which includes mayors, county commissioners and county road superintendents, to pursue a stronger information program to the legislature, the public and other influential officials. The “merger” was a test to determine if it would help the EMAT association in serving the public and to enhance the stature of emergency management.
President Mathews pointed out that affiliating with the TCSA would do more than any other action to make the EMAT an influential organization that could explain the need for emergency management law changes and new policy. With the new information flow, emergency management became better understood in its approach to serving the citizens of Tennessee. The economical step of spending $15,000 per year to support the joint executive director also prevented the jarring prospect of the association having to pay for a fulltime EMAT executive director alone. It also provided a new center for accurate disaster information distribution.
TEMA Public Information Officer Jeremy Heidt left his position in July and Executive Officer Dean Flener picked up his duties, to include interface with EMAT. The EMAT Conference in 2014 was held in Nashville at the Maxwell House Hotel.
The first full year of John Mathews’ term was in 2015.
The minutes for 2015 are missing.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2016 conference could not be held in Sevier County as planned due to the fire emergency, so the 2016 conference was moved forward into 2017 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro (January), then the annual conference for 2017 was held in October in Chattanooga. This put two conferences in the same year, but surprisingly it did not hurt attendance at either conference.)
January 26, 2017
In a sudden decision to hold an executive board meeting, President Purdy called for a telephone call-in meeting. Present on the call were President Purdy, President- Elect Brian Gard, Immediate Past President John Mathews, VP-West Johny Farris, VP-East Scott Stout, Treasurer Jody Zorsch, Secretary Donnie Smith, Awards & Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling, Historical Committee Chairman John Riley, Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves, David Connor, Executive Director of TCSA, Brett Howell, Communications Specialist for CTAS/UT, and Carol Engroff, Finance Specialist, CTAS/UT.
President Purdy apologized for the short notice for the phone-in meeting rather than the scheduled meeting at the SEOC. He said the meeting was necessary due to pending legislation in support of emergency management and the need for approval of the proposed hotel location and contract for the 2018 conference.
He then introduced Ricky Graves to discuss the pending bill which would grant benefits to first responder families in the event of death in the line of duty, currently $25,000 with a promise to increase it to $50,000. He said emergency management responders would be covered as well due to the language in the bill. He said Representative Curtis Halford is the sponsor and that he has obtained the support of Deputy Governor Henry to include the cost in the Governor’s Budget as a perpetual line item. If this occurs, the decision will be revealed on Monday, January 30, in the Governor’s State of the State address.
Chairman Graves said he had requested space at the Legislative Plaza for the EMA Day on the Hill event this month, but TCSA was looking at March 13-14. Now, the Governor has pre-empted this time and a new suitable date must be found.
A discussion ensued regarding next year’s contract for the conference (President Purdy called it an RFP, state finance terminology for Request for Purchase) and the possibility of moving the 2017 conference back to Sevier County to help the county economically after the fire. President Purdy said he wanted to prioritize the plan to go to Sevier County and as a back-up to Middle Tennessee. He went on to say that the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg had already committed to other conferences during our proposed dates, but they would make a recommendation of an alternate location in Pigeon Forge. He said there is an issue (or problem) with the host EMA serving as conference chairman (that is, John Mathews wanted the conference, but did not want to be the chairman for the conference). He said he would continue to search for a good resolution. He also said the RFP (or contract) for the 2018 conference was also being planned.
President Purdy announced that training was planned for a Type III (FEMA IMT) team with its team members (mostly firemen) from Shelby County, for Murfreesboro- Rutherford County and for Knoxville-Knox County. He said the training is being coordinated by Andy Rose at TEMA and is focused on multi-discipline capabilities.
President Purdy said Jim Tanner (Hickman County EMA director and EMAT VP-Middle TN) will be the EMAT’s representative at a safety meeting with the Department of Education.
Secretary Donnie Smith said he had had a telephone conversation with Rutherford County EMA Director T. K. Kast, and Director Kast plans to pilot the intern training project for emergency management outreach and already has an intern from MTSU. He asked for support from EMAT, and President Purdy said Chairman Jonathan Pressnell (Chairman of the Standards, Training and CEMP Committee) would need to develop a standardized training POI for all (potential) interns across the state (from other educational institutions). Secretary Smith said Director Kast wanted to eliminate the EMAT membership fee for interns in this program. The discussion then moved (again) to the Department of Labor and IRS rules for using interns and the extra supervision required. Board members were still cool to the idea, but they did not oppose it. President Purdy, who himself began his emergency management career as an intern and said a decision would also need to be made on the selected subjects for intern training. He placed its development under the STC Committee.
Historical Committee Chairman John Riley announced that his latest effort to enhance historical information is to identify those who have served as Vice President of EMAT or who have held committee chairmanship or both. He thought this should be an on-going program to be updated as we go.
President Purdy said his vision of how the board meetings should be organized in the future is for each committee to meet prior to the main board and then prepare their reports to be presented to the board. He said he is trying to make this happen, then the principal members of the board would then approve or alter the recommendations received. This would require more board members to be present and more meeting space for all the meetings since most people wanted to have the committee meetings and board meetings on the same day due to the travel distance to Nashville. This plan also would require the chairmen to be more proactive to prepare their committee and the board report. President Purdy proposed that committees would begin meeting at 9:30 am and the main board would meet at 11:00 am.
Secretary Smith reported that resignations have been received from Winston Shields and Amy Maxwell in Chattanooga due to their increased workload next year in Hamilton County, and that this leaves the Finance, Ways and Means Committee chair and the PIO positions vacant. President Purdy indicated that he wants another Membership Committee assistant and is still searching for members to be appointed to the new temporary committees. Subcommittee chairs for the conference also need to be reviewed by the president and the board, he thought. President Purdy requested that any new assistant selected by the committee chairs be submitted to him for initial approval.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch raised the issue of migrating the digital e-mail history from the old web site into the new one under TCSA. Communications Specialist Brett Howell said that he was unable to move this historical data into the site. Secretary Smith pointed out that the historical information would still not be lost since the old site could still be accessed and would not be eliminated. It would, however, require copying any needed materials to go into the new site page by page since Mr. Howell could not move the information across digitally.
Since the phone-in meeting did not include the Treasurer and Secretary reports, the previous month’s minutes were not approved by the board, so this business was postponed until next month to be considered for approval.
On April 27, 2017 President Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the State EOC at TEMA. He asked for reports from the Treasurer, the Secretary and regional vice presidents and asked for the board to approve these and the minutes from the previous meetings which was done.
He asked for an adjusted structure for the meeting and consolidated the committee reports into a more generic (and shortened) format. He then called for a report from the Historical Committee from which there was no new information. The Treasurer, Jody Zorsch, reported a shortfall in the conference budget, and President Purdy stated that when all income and bills were in that the association would break even in the conference budget. He said he planned to announce a chair for the Vendor Subcommittee. Brett Howell, TCSA, indicated there were now 367 members in EMAT, broken down as 63 in the West, 162 in Middle Tennessee and 67 in the East. There are 67 TEMA members and 55 members with a lapsed membership. He said the numbers do not balance and will require some investigation (research) for the reason. (Editor’s note: Some of the difference was due to the failure to count the honorary members, about 20 or so. This issue has been brought up several times for membership committee members to remember. Turnover in committee members causes a lapse in institutional memory.)
STC (Standards, Training and CEMP) Chairman Jonathan Pressnell requested approval of EM-2 for Sarah Disurio from Tennessee Tech University. This was approved by the board.
Chairman Ricky Graves of the Legislative Committee reported that the first responder bill was passed by the legislature and was funded by the Governor’s Budget, an annual amount of $25,000.
President Purdy said the Higher Education Committee has prioritized training requirements for only new emergency management tasked personnel in the higher education institutions.
President Purdy asked the board to reimburse Perry County EMA Director Gary Rogers for hotel bills, to issue a conference attendance certificate and to schedule a presentation for his CEMP renewal certificate in the next conference. The board approved the motion.
A discussion ensued regarding approval of interns for the association which led to a reminder that Rutherford County has already started its intern program. No training standards or membership fees for interns were established, but the consensus was that most counties would only want to approve one intern at a time due to the intense training and supervision requirements involved. The board was also concerned about the federal law prohibiting the replacement of a job position with an unpaid intern. The use of an intern could bring about an unpleasant Labor Standards investigation. After a lengthy debate, it was decided to request more study before approval of the program.
President Purdy announced again that his goals for this term includes to getting all 95 county directors, plus an additional stakeholder from each county into the membership of the association; achieve vendor growth; work on training content in the conference, develop 10 or more breakouts for attendees to select from; and to update the strategic plan to include 3-5 years out for various geographic locations for the conference. He said he wants to focus on a joint training conference with topics on standard and urban search and rescue, on hazardous materials, incident management, and professional development. He wants a Private Sector Committee, an approved internship program, EMAT presence at other conferences, academic and practitioner collusion (integration and cooperation?) and an invitation for outside association representation at the EMAT conference (in effect establishing a joint preparedness summit, he said). He stated that he wants to update the CEMP/CEM certificate and the background requirements. He issued a challenge to all of the board members to become CEMP qualified. He also wants a challenge to go out to all TEMA members for CEMP qualification. As a continued part of his vision, he wants to achieve full state funding for a fulltime county director in every county and to permanently include this in state law, thus institutionalizing annual funding in the state budget. He wants to de-link the EMPG program from funding salary requirements and free the program to fund annually selected emergency management projects essential to the county. This fits with his concept to attain 95 fulltime emergency management directors, to fund county programs through disaster recovery funds and day-to-day state funding, and to schedule a baseline EMAP assessment for all 95 county programs in the state.
On May 25, 2017 Chairman Brian Gard, acting for President Purdy, called the Board of Directors to order in the Waverly Room of the State EOC in Nashville. He asked for the Treasurer’s, the Secretary’s and the regional vice-presidents’ reports and asked for the board to approve them. Treasurer Jody Zorsch noted that no income was received during the previous month, but that TEMA has agreed to pay (up to) $70,000 against bills from the conference. It was noted that this is a higher amount than agreed upon at the beginning of the year (which was not announced to the board) to help meet the higher expenses encountered.
Vice President-West Johny Farris discussed the West Tennessee LEPC conference and how well it went, and then President Purdy gave a telephonic report on the EMAT conference, saying that most of the areas are ready to go. The main speaker has not yet been confirmed. He said TCSA continues to work on the web site, but not all functions are operable. He announced that the Department of Health is working with a private partner to make a grant to EMAT. He also reported that room rates for this year’s conference will be $105, and that he expects to break even on the budget.
Chairman Robie Robinson of the Higher Education Committee said higher education is involved with every issue (faced by county) emergency management and that the HEC has developed a recommendation for nine training courses for new emergency management personnel at the higher education institutions.
The courses selected by the committee were:
Incident Command System (ICS), IS-100
ICS for Single Resources, IS-200
Fundamentals of Emergency Management, IS-230
Emergency Planning, IS-235
National Incident Management System (NIMS), IS-700
Multiple Agency Coordination System (MACS), IS-701
National Response Framework, IS-800
Tennessee Emergency Operations Center (EOC), S-775
Chairman James Medling (Dyer County) reported that service awards for local county directors were being reviewed and that information regarding new directors should be collected for the purposes of future award so no one will be overlooked. It was decided that the TEMA regional directors will be requested to provide the names of new directors. Chairman Medling requested that any information for awards to be made for the conference to be submitted by July 15, 2017.
The board then confirmed the nomination of Danny Jowers as Chairman of the Ways, Means & Finance Committee. If confirmed by the President, this will make Danny chairman of two committees, the other being the Strategic Plans Committee. This action fulfills the requirements of fiscal security under IRS rules for 501(c)(3).
Chairman Ricky Graves of the Legislative Committee reported that since the responder benefit bill has now been passed by the legislature, the language of the law may make the upgraded benefits just provided to firefighters apply to emergency management responders, also. However, the discussion revealed that this depends on the application of the law as decided by the Governor’s Office (and whether the financial laws directing the Comptroller have been changed). There was also some discussion about whether the Vanessa K. Free Act may apply to emergency management first responders and whether reporting must include the new numbers. Chairman Graves recommended that the sponsors of the first responder benefit bill be recognized with a plaque and the others supporting the bill or promoting it. He said Executive Director David Connors, should receive a letter of commendation or thanks.
On June 21, 2017 President Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the Waverly Room in the State EOC in Nashville. Of special note was a guest, David Hendrick, an intern from the University of Tennessee Office of Emergency Management, but there was no discussion of the potential EMAT intern program.
President Purdy asked Treasurer Jody Zorsch to discuss the current financial situation as conference time nears. Chairman Zorsch said that she cannot see what deposits are being made using the current setup of the software system. Although she knows deposits are going in, she cannot report where they are from. Deposits go into the accounts from TCSA, but EMAT does not know what they are. Brett Howell of TCSA said this is being worked on, but in the mean-time, telephonic or digital coordination must be made with Carol End0rff, the financial representative at TCSA (CTAS, University of Tennessee), to get that information until the software can be fixed to show reports to the EMAT Treasurer. Treasurer Zorsch said the last reports shows there is now $51,000 in the bank.
The Vice Presidents all declined to submit a report and then two made comments. Johny Farris of West Tennessee advised that the West Tennessee LEPC Conference will be held 8-9 August 2017 at Paris Landing State Park. The Middle Tennessee Vice President, Jim Tanner, requested a membership contact list to be provided from TCSA, and President Purdy recommended that the TEMA regional directors be requested for this update.
Acting Chairman Bob Jackson of the Higher Education Committee submitted that the committee is working on “owners” for the three blocks of presentation (breakouts) that the committee plans to have presented in the EMAT/TEMA conference.
President Purdy said that a letter of notification regarding awards recommendations needs to be sent out as soon as possible. A new deadline should be established for getting the recommendations in since the letter reminding everyone has not been sent. Member Donnie Smith (Awards & Nominations Committee) recommended that August 15 be the new deadline. President-Elect Brian Gard will follow up with the letter.
Chairman Ricky Graves of the Legislative Committee said the committee will be looking for new material for legislative consideration now that the benefits/first responder definition law has passed.
President Purdy announced the latest development for the conference is that the conference site is in Sevierville [Wilderness Resort on 11-13 September 2017], and he said that a dynamic speaker from the national level is being requested for the conference general session, possibly a national level emergency manager. Director Patrick Sheehan is being invited to discuss the new TEMA reorganization taking effect on June 1. He said the Department of Health and TEMA are working together to provide material. He said the Higher Education Committee will be presenting information regarding damage assessment, continuity (of current operations) and exercises as it affects institutes of higher learning.
President Purdy said that CTAS, the Department of Health and POST and perhaps some other accrediting organizations will support educational certification for completion of training at the conference. He is meeting with Melisa Hucks at TEMA regarding funding issues of EMAT. He has invited the Department of Health’s Health Care Coalition to the conference (eight coalition members). He believes this will bring on 30-50 more persons to attend whose attendance would be paid for by Department of Health. He wants to increase the number of partners, vendors and sponsors who attend our conferences. He also said he is inviting APCO’s board (4-6 people) to the conference.
President Purdy said there must be a change in the financial management of the conference to stay within the budget. He said that rules must be put in place to improve the control of rooms, starting with limiting the counties to just two “comp” rooms per county. He believes this decision should be retained for the county director, but those rooms beyond the two that are “free” should be paid for by the county or the individual. To tighten up on costs to prevent significant fund shortages, he said the rule allowing other counties to pick up the unused county rooms must end. This also means that rooms will be managed individually by the President and the number of comp rooms for others, including speakers, must be approved only by the President. He proposed a special code for the comp rooms so that any other room would be charged to the user and that EMAT should return to reserving the room with the individual’s own credit card. He believes this is the only way we can stay within budget. He said that TEMA would once again authorize a $70,000 “grant” for training and lodging. He will work with TEMA Chief of Staff Melisa Hucks to identify what or who is eligible for the grant.
President Purdy said he wants to recognize Past Presidents with a special color lanyard and ID badge this year. The lanyard would let EMAT leadership be clearly recognized. Treasurer Zorsch has determined there are fewer than 20 people who would be recognized and said she would buy the lanyards.
President Purdy said he wants to ensure that new members are introduced to the emergency management community and suggested a “sponsorship” program of some type to host new members through the process during their first exposure to EMAT.
He also suggested a summary of the by-laws, a summary of the board organization and recent actions and a summary of the benefits and values of belonging to the Association, all to be included in the Welcome Packet. Secretary Donnie Smith volunteered to perform these summaries.
President Purdy also wants to consider a small “give-away” to be included in the welcoming packet.
President Purdy further suggested that the conference committee should be a “continuing” (or permanent) committee and not just be the responsibility of the hosting emergency management agency.
A discussion involving the digital reports for membership was led by TCSA’s Brett Howell as he showed how new material is being now displayed on-line. A new chart to show membership and those who are not members has been developed. New reports are also being developed to show membership numbers by type, by region and by conference. He has not yet solved the issue of displaying the deposits to the Secretary.
President Purdy announced that Jonathan Pressnell, Chairman of the STC Committee, is absent today since he is attending his own graduation, receiving a Masters Degree in International Relations. He also announced that Joe Kennedy from the Tennessee Department of Health will be the new Vice Chairman of the STC Committee.
On August 3, 2017 President Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the Boatwright Room of the State EOC in Nashville.
It was decided that some of the conversation in the Finance, Ways & Means Committee meeting (occurring before the board meeting) needed to be in the minutes so selected information could be included before the full board. This was approved as a motion.
Secretary Smith incorporated the following into the minutes for record.
Out-going President John Mathews has resigned as Director of Sevier County Emergency Management Agency and obtained a job in the private sector. The upcoming conference is expected to have 200-225 attendees, and the TEMA Director, Patrick Sheehan will be there, although he will arrive late since he was selected to attend the Tennessee Governor’s Executive Institute (TGEI). President Purdy said TEMA would probably increase the grant to $75,000 for this past year to cover the unpaid areas of the conference. The EMAT Treasurer is still not connected by web to the TCSA financial page and still cannot see deposit amounts or who they are from. President Purdy said this must be fixed. This concludes the information from an earlier meeting which should be in the minutes as a permanent record.
President Purdy then discussed the issues leading up to the conference, saying that the budget is neutral this year, that is, EMAT would not make or lose any money. He said he thinks that TEMA will continue to assist the association in meeting its debts.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch reiterated that she cannot give a current and accurate update on the status of the conference (and therefore can’t do her job) since she cannot tell what deposits are being made and from whom. The TSCA web site will not allow her to see real time into the TEMA account. President Purdy said he and Brian Gard will meet with David Connor to see what can be done about this.
A discussion regarding how to see on-line when membership is valid and when it will expire took place and an on-line demonstration from TCSA showed that the expiration date will now reflect the entry in a member’s personal account after payment is received.
Johny Farris, Vice-President, West Tennessee reminded everyone that the West Tennessee LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) Conference will be held next week. He reported that the Education Committee of the WTLEPC Association has as a goal persuading directors to attain higher education levels.
Jim Tanner, Vice-President, Middle Tennessee, said he is focusing on getting more directors to attend the TEMA/EMAT Conference. He reported some concerns from local directors regarding the rule allowing counties to receive just two free rooms for lodging and not allowing other unused rooms to be picked up by counties that could use them. He said he was proud to announce a new director joining the association from Lewis County, Danny Atkinson.
Scott Stout, Vice-President, East Tennessee, reported that the graded exercise for Watts Bar Nuclear Plant will be a big deal this time with some changes coming from FEMA. He said it had been decided that (during such a nuclear plant emergency) most people would leave a shelter as soon as possible and would not remain overnight, so reception centers should be established to only screen, treat as needed and perhaps feed persons who come by and then release them to go home or stay with family or friends. He said this would reduce the previously planned large number of people in shelters, eliminating care, feeding and oversight. This would also eliminate the long-range need for the previously planned large number of shelters.
President Purdy led the discussion on the Conference Committee report. He postponed the update on vendors, saying that there are more vendors coming so the number will change. He said that breakouts would be updated on the web site. He said the revised food costs at the conference would run roughly $150 per person and that we are under-charging for meals. He confirmed that APCO and the Department of Health are each sponsoring a coffee break for $2000 each.
President Purdy said that two of the speakers at the conference are Dr. Macel Eli from TGEI (Tennessee Government Executive Institute and University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service) and Ronald Hooper, Tennessee Highway Patrol communications. He said there would be 10 breakout rooms, and the training conference certificates would show 14.5 contact hours of emergency management education credit. It is planned to include training on damage assessment, on WebEOC, TEMA 705 (SEOC) and TEMA 101 (Introduction to Emergency Management). He said there will also be a presentation on the swimming hole rescue at Cummins Falls (Cookeville). He said he will also offer a speaking slot to the TEMA Director, Patrick Sheehan, at the banquet to update members on the reorganization of TEMA.
Walking sticks were recommended as speaker gifts this year at the conference.
President Purdy said he wanted to form a special team to welcome new members to the conference. Preferably, this appointment would be a past president who would take the new member to meet other directors and to be introduced to key persons.
He announced that some of the conference support staff will meet in Sevierville on August 24. The advance party will meet at the hotel on Sunday, September 10, at 4:00 pm.
President Purdy announced that the 2018 conference (next year) will be held in Chattanooga. The conference is scheduled for the Chattanooga Convention Center during the fourth week of October.
President Purdy said will appoint Tim Harvey (Williamson County Operations) as the Conference Committee chairman to backfill John Mathews and put Brian Gard, incoming President, on the committee as a member.
He said he intended to change the conference page on the web site the day after the conference to show the dates of the next (2018) conference. This should give all members a better opportunity to plan and will further aid vendors with their planning.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman Medling said there will be 6-8 members who will be receiving service awards. There was a discussion regarding the need for private sector awards, and Chairman Medling said we already have awards for print media, radio and TV media, and special awards. He said he didn’t think any others were needed.
President Purdy discussed his intention to buy and present a special lanyard to former presidents of the association a lanyard (with a different color than other members) to distinguish them from current the rank and file. The board determined that no additional powers were needed to make this purchase, but it did approve funds for the purchase to ensure that there is a clear authority for the plan.
President Purdy asked for the board to approve a special President’s Award for Immediate Past President John Mathews, former emergency management director of Sevier County (and former Assistant Mayor).
Legislative Committee Chairman Graves discussed whether there may be a need for a fine for people who continually drive into high water and then require rescue. No one warmed to the idea, and no motion came forward. The issue was not further discussed.
Standards, Training and CEMP (STC) Committee Chairman Pressnell said there had been a request from some TEMA regional directors for an EMAT scholarship for exercises. Discussion revolved around the need for that at the county level or whether the state should fund it. A motion was not made.
President Purdy said TEMA Director Sheehan had informed him that due to some recent misfortunes with hotel contracts, TEMA and other departments would no longer be allowed by the state to execute their own contracts. Requests for contracts will now have to be sent further to the Department of Finance and Administration.
There was a discussion regarding the need to withdraw a previous CEMP approval based upon the ethics statement an applicant signed swearing he was clear of any charges and then having it revealed as a lie. President Purdy said the applicant had supposedly been charged with harassment and he knew it at the time he applied. President Purdy felt this reflects too poorly upon the professionalism of the organization to let it stand. Most of the board members felt that there wasn’t enough evidence to act (that it was mostly hearsay and had not been brought to trial), so no motion was forthcoming.
Higher Education Committee member Brian Gard reported on behalf of the committee that there was additional effort needed to identify the instructors of the three breakouts planned for the conference. He said there is no progress on this area and time is running out.
Historical Committee Vice Chairman Donnie Smith reported that a listing of reasons to belong to the association had been developed and is to be incorporated into a recruiting poster/handout material for fairs and other displays on behalf of the association. There are potentially 13 reasons for membership although one may be an expansion of another.
The vision of the current president has been integrated into an update of the EMAT historical summary and will be posted to the web site.
On September 28, 2017 President Mac Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the Waverly Room of the State EOC in Nashville. Treasurer Jody Zorsch presented the current fiscal status of the association and reported it to be in the black.
Only Middle Tennessee Vice President Jim Tanner submitted a report. Vice President Tanner discussed the EMAT plan to train Incident Management Teams (IMT) in the state to be ready to respond to emergencies on call from FEMA. President Purdy expanded the discussion to say that the training would meet typing requirements of FEMA for the response teams. This distinguishes the teams from another type of special team, the EMST, being built within the state to augment a mayor’s Emergency Operations Center during a local disaster. The IMT would be a federally-recognized team built with fire operations specialists (firemen) while EMST’s (built mostly of various qualified county directors) would provide a wide range of specialties and support which is missing in the county with the disaster. The specialties include response team deployment and management, rescue, logistics management, volunteer integration, law enforcement strike team management and other tailored special needs. A lengthy discussion ensued regarding IMT training. Mr. Tanner said there would soon be another meeting which would include TEMA, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Fire Chiefs Association President, EMAT and APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications) to finish the work. Vice President Tanner said it is premature for announcement, but this training could be the centerpiece for the conference if all the board members agree.
President Purdy then discussed whether to schedule the annual conference in January of next year due to the delay of the conference by the Gatlinburg fire and due to other events in the months since the fire, e.g., TEMA Instructor training in November and the TEMA/TVA Watts Bar Nuclear Plant exercise in December. Both events would likely interfere with TEMA members attending the conference as well as reduce the available number of persons who would otherwise attend the conference. The only dates everyone could agree on were 29-31 January 2018 (a month into the following year). The association would be penalized by contract if it failed to have a conference at all.
Chairman Purdy announced that there are now 405 members in the Emergency Management Association of Tennessee.
President Purdy incorporated actions and discussions into the minutes from a 9:45 meeting of the Conference Committee regarding the “2017 Conference.” Tim Harvey (Williamson County EMA) was appointed as Conference Chairman (He was also appointed Chairman of the Standards, Training and CEMP Committee after Jonathan Presnell resigned to change careers.) Chairman Harvey is expected to handle the Vendor Subcommittee job, too, due to the immediacy of the conference. Chairman Harvey then announced that there are 27 vendors committed to attend. President Purdy said that even though Tim Harvey is going into the Conference Chairman position, President- Elect Jim Tanner will perform most of the duties due to the magnitude of the conference committee’s work and the newness of Tim to the job. Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) and Mike Harris (TEMA) were then announced as having submitted for renewal of their CEMP.
President Purdy said that he has invited Craig Fugate, former FEMA Administrator, as the main speaker at the conference.
Chairman Purdy discussed the difficulty of meeting the budget with current constraints and explained that food costs alone absorb the conference fee being charged. He said the conference, however, will still probably break even with 300-350 attendees expected.
The conference this year will feature presentations on POST, CTAS credit, higher education’s role in emergency management, health/hospitals/nursing homes emergency management, schools EM preparedness and APCO, just to name a few.
Chairman Purdy closed the meeting after saying TEMA director Patrick Sheehan is considering the usefulness of merging the EMAT conference with the Emergency Services Coordinator (ESC) conference.
He also announced that TEMA East Tennessee Regional Director Bill Worth is retiring medically. [Sadly, within a short time Director Worth succumbed to cancer.]
Higher Education Committee member Brian Gard (and President-Elect) reported that work is continuing to obtain presenters for the Higher Education breakouts at the conference.
Historical Committee Chairman John Riley reported that he was continuing efforts to obtain valid information to update the association’s historical summary. Chairman Riley moved to reconsider the decision not to have membership cards in EMAT. The original reason for dispensing with them apparently was over controversy about whether a person’s membership had expired or would be extended, the date for the expiration varying from what the member thought it should be and overpayments into future years not being covered by a new card. There was also some controversy over the expense of printing and mailing cards. However, Chairman Riley complained that this leaves a member with no official physical evidence of belonging to the association. The board voted to study the issue of membership cards and to rule in the future. The President did not appoint a special committee, so it is presumed Chairman Riley will lead the study and make a future report to the board.
On October 26, 2017 Acting Chairman Tanner (and Vice President for Middle Tennessee) opened the meeting with a discussion of the remaining tasks to prepare for the delayed 2017 conference (which will now be held 29-31 January 2018). Chairman Tanner recognized that business could not be adequately conducted without a quorum, but he said coordination of the conference is essential.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch reported that the fiscal status of the association is in the black, but that TEMA has not reimbursed the association for training presented during the past year, about $40,000. Secretary Donnie Smith checked to see that board members were receiving the previous month’s minutes and said he will wait for a quorum to ask for approval.
Chairman Tanner discussed the slow advancement of the training of IMT’s (Incident Management Teams) to be ready to respond to emergencies and that the delay means that a local director could be in trouble without help. His frustration is over the delay of the official certification between the state and federal agencies.
Chairman Tanner discussed the difficulties of transition from one chairman to a another chairman immediately prior to a conference. He nfirmed receiving a packet applying for CEMP renewal from Mike Harris of TEMA and said he had located the missing packed of Edwin Hogan of Cheatham County. He also said he had instituted a new search for the CEMP packet of Rachel Duke of Florida, but he does not know if this one was approved or not (it was not).
President-Elect Gard (and member of the Higher Education Committee) reported that work is proceeding on obtaining presenters for the conference.
Chairman Riley discussed the advantages of membership cards in EMAT with the principal reason being establishing a better bond between the member and the association. No motions were presented.
On November 14, 2017 President Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the Boatright Room of the State EOC. A quorum was not present, but President Purdy elected to continue the meeting due to the proximity of the conference at the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort in Sevierville.
Secretary Smith provided the minutes of the September and October meetings by e-mail, noting that several meetings have not had a quorum. Members who did not receive the minutes were Tim Harvey and John Riley who will have the e-mail re-sent. Due to the importance of information exchange, some of the Conference Committee minutes in the 9:00 a.m. meeting have been incorporated into the board minutes.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch had two issues of concern. First, she said she still cannot obtain real-time reports of accounts receivable payments or deposits and that she must wait for a delayed report to see the status of the account. She said she must ask or refer a caller to Carol Engroff at TCSA for an answer on whether a check has arrived. This is regarding membership, CEMP or conference items (any deposit). She complained that this leaves her uninformed until she calls TCSA herself, a cumbersome and unnecessarily embarrassing situation for the EMAT Treasurer since it is technically possible to obtain digital reports from TCSA for instant information. The second issue is that although a bill was sent to TEMA in August, a payment for training reimbursement of $37,000 still has not been received. Discussion produced the need to involve Brett Howell and Carol Engroff at TCSA to solve the Treasurer’s digital access problem. President Purdy said he would discuss the TEMA payment with the TEMA Chief of Staff, Melisa Hucks.
The vice presidents, except for Jim Tanner of Middle Tennessee, had no report. Vice President Tanner said a meeting took place in November between the Fire Chiefs’ Association president and other agencies involved with creating the joint IMT’s (Incident Management Team) and though all members were positive, no team leader was ever elected or appointed to be in charge. TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan assumed the point, and said he expected progress in time for the conference.
President Purdy spoke on behalf of newly appointed Conference Committee Chairman Tim Harvey who was (in fact) present. He said there are now 250 persons registered for the conference, including vendors. Vendors must pay $500 for a booth or $550 for a corner booth. Meal costs are running $180-190 per ticket, so EMAT must change next year to provide vendors with one ticket as part of the registration/booth charge, rather than two free lunch tickets as a part of the package. Special reduced charges will apply for IAEM and EMAT. Next year, vendor booth space will be larger in the Chattanooga Convention Center and it looks like the conference will overlap with the TCSA conference.
President Purdy said he thinks there will be 50-75 new members added to the Association now as part of the President’s invitation to the Fire Chiefs’ Association, Police Chiefs’ Association, Health Services groups, higher education groups, etc.
President Purdy said the 2017 conference dates are now 29-31 January 2018 since the previous conference was delayed due to the Gatlinburg area fire. He announced the conference duty assignments for the Wilderness Resort Conference Center. He said other appointments will be made, but the primary responsibility for unassigned areas will be himself. The conference dates for 2019 will be 22-24 October.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling reported that the awards for the banquet are ready and that there will be nine service awards for directors this year.
Membership Committee Brian Gard reported when a member registers for the conference and then opts to pay later, the notification received after paying later looks like a letter and does not look like an invoice, so many county finance directors are not reimbursing their county directors after receipt. He said this notification should be changed to look like an invoice.
Chairman Gard also discussed the three versions of membership cards which he wanted to be reviewed and recommended a cardboard card that could be printed from computer. This version appears to be acceptable to the board, and there was no more discussion.
Acting Chairman of the STC Committee (Standards, Training and CEMP) Tanner reported that he recommends approval of CEMP renewal for Edwin Hogan of Cheatham County and Mike Harris from TEMA. New CEMP approval recommendations were received for Tracy Davis of TEMA and Chance Holmes of Robertson County. He also has received a packet from Janet Kelley of Hickman County, but has not yet reviewed it. The board proceeded to extend CEMP recognition to Edwin Hogan, Mike Harris, Tracy Davis and Chance Holmes.
TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan joined the Board to discuss improvements of the emergency management system and discussed the Incident Management Team concept and then discussed the Emergency Management Support Teams concept. He discussed the attendance of Judge Paul Summers at the conference in January and explained the interest in improving county emergency response. He said that the state is one unified emergency response effort and should react this way in an emergency. He discussed obstacles to the concept and urged increased efforts at removing those obstacles. IMT’s are recognized by FEMA, but EMST’s would work for TEMA (and the county mayor upon deployment) and training should move on a parallel track. Director Sheehan said he planned to visit all 95 counties by the end of June.
On December 14, 2017 President Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the Waverly Room of the State EOC in Nashville. Guests included Director Patrick Sheehan of TEMA, Chief of Staff Hucks and Executive Director David Connor of TCSA. A quorum was present.
On January 13, 2016, President and Chairman of the EMAT Board of Directors John Mathews called the board meeting to order in Nashville, TN. President John Mathews called the meeting to order and requested approval of the minutes making special note that Winston Shields and Amy Maxwell were present as guests, but not voting.
President Mathews said the association would have met its projected budget this year, but expenditures went over by only $1000. He mentioned that many items were dropped in order to get this close, including some scheduled training of directors. This training was returned to the following year’s budget, a new line was added for Flowers for Bereavement, and $1500 was added to Office Supplies, which includes the one-time cost of a computer, printer and software.
President Mathews asked that the By-Laws Committee address board attendance and that he regrettably was obliged to point out that board member attendance is addressed under Article 5, Section 8. He said the president is required to review attendance for action if the members do not maintain good attendance and some board members need to address their attendance record.
Chairman James Medling brought two plaques with corrected spelling for Diane Pryor. President Mathews said he has re-written the proposed Service Award to change its applicability to be only for long-serving directors and no one else.
Conference Chairman Tony Reavley said the conference fee needs to be increased to meet expenditures in the next conference. He said the greatest waste is food and beverages since people fail to attend the meals after indicating an intent to be there. He said this has cost the association thousands of dollars over the years. The idea of creating a separate banquet night ticket did not gain support due to fears of members not attending the banquet and embarrassing the invited speaker and board. It was finally agreed to raise the conference fee to $180 per person and vendor fees to $500 for Conference 2016. Chairman Reavley reminded the board that this is the lowest costing conference in the state, especially considering the state’s grant support. The grant offsets rooms, most food costs and all of training. He proposed that the key speaker being invited should be Senator Bob Corker (who is touted as President Trump’s potential Foreign Affairs Advisor) and would not cost the association anything, saving the budget several thousand dollars.
History Committee Vice Chairman Donnie Smith said the new focus will be on identifying the positive aspects of the new EMAT administration and updating the historical summary.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves said Representative Curtis Halford has agreed to introduce a new bill to define “first responders” which would
include emergency management personnel who respond. Senator Janice Boling said she strongly supports the bill and wants the benefit for families to be $50,000.
Tony Reavley complained that his staff officer and conference deputy, Winston Shields, has already been approved by the board for CEMP based upon completing similar requirements for IAEM. [He completed only the requirements for AEM in documents he submitted.] Standards, Training & CEMP Committee Chairman Mac Purdy said he would re-visit this issue and decide.
Strategic Planning Committee Chairman Danny Jowers said the Five-Year Plan will be adjusted to match the goals and objectives reflected in new business of the association. He said the 2016 conference will be held in Chattanooga on November 7-10, 2016.
President Mathews asked for two positive reasons and two negative reasons from each chairman for the concept of hiring a new fulltime executive director for the association. He said he wants to bring the issue up at the February meeting, although discussion may be shifted to the March meeting. President Mathews announced a special meeting (substituting for the regular meeting in February) to be held in Representative Curtis Halford’s Legislative Conference Room at the Legislative Plaza in February, the same day as EMA Day on the Hill.
Minutes for February-October 2016 are missing.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A virus attack on TEMA also affected portions of the official EMAT minutes being maintained on supporting computers, so when the attack caused a crash it deleted random portions of information everywhere. The missing minutes are from the April-August 2013, November 2013- December 2014, CY 2015, and February-October 2016 time periods. Data recovery is being attempted and a search is also on-going for hard copies.
President Mac Purdy (Williamson County) assumed the gavel in the November conference (2016), and he provided his vision regarding the functions of the Board of Directors. President Purdy said his idea of how the board meetings should be formed in the future is for each committee to meet prior to the main board, develop their findings, and report recommendations or information to the board of directors who would then approve or alter the recommendations received. This concept would require the nine permanent and two temporary committees to be active prior to the board meeting to get goals accomplished.
President Purdy announced that his goals for this term were to get all 95 county directors, plus at least one stakeholder from each county into the membership rolls of the association; to achieve vendor growth; to work on training content in the conference, to develop ten or more breakouts for attendees to select from; and to update the strategic plan, including 3-5 years out on geographic locations for the conference, selecting a region and contracting only in that area.
President Purdy said he wanted to focus on a joint training conference with topics on standard search and rescue, urban search and rescue, on hazardous materials, on incident management, and on professional development. He said he wants a Private Sector Committee, an approved internship program, EMAT presence at other conferences, academic and practitioner collusion and an invitation for other association representation at the EMAT conference, in effect, establishing a joint preparedness summit. He stated that he wanted to update the CEMP (certified emergency management program) certificate and the background requirements and issued a challenge to all board members to become CEMP qualified. He also wanted a challenge to go out to all TEMA members to achieve CEMP qualification.
As a continued part of his vision, he said he wanted to achieve full state funding for a fulltime county director in every county and to permanently include this in state law. He said he wants to institutionalize annual funding for emergency management in the state budget. He said he wanted to de-link the EMPG (FEMA emergency management program grant) program from funding local salaries and to free the program to fund annually selected emergency management projects essential to the county. He said that this fits with his goal to obtain 95 fulltime emergency management directors for the state (one for each county) and to fund county programs through disaster recovery funds and day-to-day state funding. He said he intended to schedule a baseline EMAP (FEMA-recognized emergency management assistance program) assessment for all 95 county programs in the state.
The decision to associate with the Tennessee County Services Association (TCSA) produced its first measurable success with the passage of the bill that legally defines a first responder and includes the emergency management personnel in the county as first responders. The proposed bill morphed into a series of better protections, but in its final form provided only the original $25,000 death benefit for any family of a first responder killed while on duty. The Deputy Governor promised to include this amount in the Governor’s budget, and this assured the bill of its passage and retention. The bill’s sponsors were Representative Curtis Halford and Senator Charles Sargent. This was a small step, but with the active support of the TCSA executive director, David Connor, along with Board of Directors personal visits to legislators, this first success gave emergency managers a hope of better things to come.
(EDITOR's NOTE: On November 29, 2016, a large forest fire broke out in Sevier County on a night with high winds, eventually burning many places in Gatlinburg and also threatened Pigeon Forge. LEMD John Mathews did a tremendous job with few staff members, but the local response was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the disaster. With no adequate communications support and with a lack of preparation by federal authorities (the National Park Service was not ready, as reported by the Tennessean newspaper) to handle a fire of this size, the local emergency management office could barely organize the team in an EOC before receiving public criticism. This finally led to EMAT sponsorship of an IMT/EMST program and the creation of three IMT’s in Tennessee to respond to future emergencies. Although Director Mathews was named vice mayor of Sevierville, he decided to accept a higher paying position in the private sector, a transportation firm.)
When President Purdy left office, he had presided over the completion of nearly all the goals established by former President John Mathews which had not been completed, and although not all, he completed many of the new goals he had announced. He accomplished or oversaw the creation of a map of the state showing which directors belong to EMAT reaching 85 of 95 local directors as members of EMAT. He started the push for 100% of county EMPG membership although funding to support this many new counties was not available in TEMA. He persuaded FEMA Director Brock Long to appear at the conference as the principal speaker with the assistance of TEMA director Patrick Sheehan. He achieved a budget that saw the conference supporting itself and attained a new high of 346 attendees at the conference. He started a training plan for regional training of the IMT/EMST program and a helped build preliminary teams in each of three regions (Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Sevierville). He oversaw the relocation of the existing EMAT records, obtained some furniture and placed various plaques on the wall, created the EMAT President’s Roll of Honor Plaque, and developed a protocol for presentation of EMAT awards with a plan for CEMP recipients’ photos. He utilized an EMAT PIO to distribute award information to the media, carried out the new EMAT Service Award for current directors, selected and announced a theme for the next conference and submitted early invitations to vendors achieving a high of 23 vendors. He prepared a “Pass the Gavel” process for incoming presidents. He wrote new by-laws changing some of the committees, amended TCA to define “first responders” after gaining legislative support, and determined that a fulltime executive director would not be financially acceptable. He accepted TCSA’s executive director as a good alternative for an expensive fulltime EMAT executive director.
On December 16, 2016 President Purdy opened the Executive Board at TEMA to further discuss his vision for EMAT and the board. He initially developed new strategic goals and said these would be adopted in a later meeting in the year.
He discussed the use of e-mails and focused on the proper use of e-mails within the TCSA home page.
He discussed the potential concept for transitioning more board members in and allowing the committees to perform the detail work, thus allowing the board directors to provide oversight and approve actions taken rather than performing the work.
Vice President Jim Tanner brought a series of complaints before the board from Perry County Emergency Management Director Gary Rogers, who had several unfortunate problems during the conference. Director Rogers did not pre-register for the conference, but he instead came with the intention of paying at the front desk. He did not have a room available according to the hotel front desk due to not pre- registering, so he went to another hotel where he paid for his own room. According to President-Elect and Membership Board Chairman Brian Gard, he would have been provided a room from those being held by the Association if he had told anyone at that time, but no one at the EMAT front desk knew his need until after the conference. He later asked for reimbursement. He also pointed out that he was not publicly presented his CEMP at the conference although he was approved earlier in the year. He was also not on the list of directors with over 15 years of service for a service award and missed that recognition. Additionally, at the end of the conference since he had not pre-registered, he did not receive a training certificate/certificate of attendance. President Purdy said that each committee chair should “look into” the complaint and where valid provide reimbursement or award.
A discussion followed regarding the “Request for Purchase” (or contract) for the next year’s conference to provide instructions to TCSA in supporting the conference. A proposal was made to redirect the conference to Gatlinburg to help Sevier County and former EMAT president and LEMA Director John Mathews. President Purdy suggested that a call be made to him to ask if Sevier County would agree to host the conference in 2017.
(NOTE: Secretary Donnie Smith volunteered to call Director Mathews, and he enthusiastically agreed to accept the conference for the county.)
President Purdy stated that the plans for the 2018 conference had been started and needed to be reviewed.
He said the Association also needs to develop an outreach program to grow the membership. Secretary Smith moved to establish an outreach program for interns to be adopted by the Association so that college students with an interest in emergency management would be encouraged to work with EMAT. This program would improve recruitment of high-quality persons by eliminating the EMAT membership charges for them while they participate with emergency management during college. The proposal was initially suggested by Rutherford County EMA director T. K. Kast, who already had an intern and who volunteered to work with Middle Tennessee State University to expand the project. President Purdy said the board would need to be ready to provide training and mentoring of the interns who were accepted into the program and that sponsors would need to be prepared to support them intensively. He felt that this would be a work-intensive concept and that a review of the federal labor codes was also needed to ensure that the law is followed in regard to their use with other employees.
The board adopted the concept of an outreach program for interns and recommended that the program be adapted to the findings provided by Director Kast and Secretary Smith. Their objective was to determine the appropriate implementation of the concept and then to recommend how much reduction of the membership fee would be appropriate for interns. The concept developed some resistance due to the intensive nature of managing the un-schooled and sometimes uncommitted interns.
President Purdy announced that he planned to create a Higher Education Committee that would focus on emergency management training of persons in the education sector. He wanted to create a Private Sector Committee for the purpose of pursuing a closer relationship with businesses and corporations, especially in the event of disasters. He planned to develop more support for search and rescue teams. He stated that these committees would be temporary and non-voting for now, so the change would not affect the quorum.
President Purdy stated that Williamson County supported Sevier County during the Gatlinburg fire with 12 fire trucks. This brought about a discussion led by Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves which recommended a change in the focus on mutual aid. Chairman Graves stated that the state should already have EMST’s organized and on call for deployment in the event of an overwhelming event like the Gatlinburg fire or larger disaster. These proposal was for teams that would be county personnel who were already trained for their job and who would then report to the mayor or director of the county suffering the disaster. He said that his concept was that the request for the teams would be made in advance of the emergency so that they could automatically deploy upon notice of the declaration. If done in this manner, he said it would not be a self-deployment, but would be a pre-approved deployment to support the emergency. There was no motion for the idea, however, due to the size, costliness and commitment of time for the program. Such a team would need equipment, training and funding before an emergency and there was a question on who would pay for this. There was also some reluctance in volunteering for an on-call team without their own mayor’s approval.
President Purdy said that an EMAT board member who planned to attend other conferences should notify the president of EMAT and receive the blessing of the board as a formal representative of EMAT as well as their own county. This would improve the visibility of EMAT.
He announced new dates for the board meeting each month, changing them from the second Wednesday of each month to the fourth Thursday of each month at 9:30 am. He said this would improve the calendar for committees to hold their meetings prior to the monthly directors’ meetings and would let them prepare their report for the board.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch reported that EMAT currently has $105,000 in the checking account. Treasurer Zorsch had submitted a digital report that EMAT currently has on hold a bill to be paid from Marriott Chattanooga for $68,107, and this payment would be made after a quality check of names by TEMA to ensure only authorized persons are paid for. She is waiting for the final approval by Melisa Hucks, Chief of Staff for TEMA.
The Secretary’s minutes for November were not yet approved since the President had not forwarded the draft to the board. President Purdy said he was unable to open the attachment of the minutes. Secretary Smith said he would send him another e-mail. Secretary Donnie Smith suggested that a direct electronic mailing be made following each meeting.
The Historical Committee in lieu of the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) Committee and the Standards, Training and Certified Emergency Management Program (CEMP) Committee, in lieu of the CEMP Committee are both operating as a temporary special committee without vote until the full membership can approve the change.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: President Gard changed the type of governing functions of the Executive Board in September 2018 to a de-centralized executive and gave the chairmen of the standing committees significant power to make their own changes and to accomplish actions without immediate presidential approval, especially relating to the conference.)
In his introductory message to the board at the conference, new President Brian Gard (Director of Emergency Management, University of Tennessee, Knoxville) said the board of directors must be efficient and effective. He urged the board to push the work into the committees who will in turn coordinate with the board. He said the chairmen should select the members of their committee and report them to the president. He encouraged each committee chairman to have goals, progress reports and meeting dates at least quarterly and to report to the board periodically. He said when there is a conflict with a holiday, the board meeting date will be bumped to the following Thursday. He said he plans to update the Five-Year Plan through the board.
He announced a priority change for the association to pursue improvement of the professionalism of emergency management in the state, add to the membership base and improve diversity, be an advocate for emergency preparedness initiatives, and finally focus on comprehensive state-wide impact.
He wants to take the EMAT Association from a good organization to a transformational organization. He said he wants membership and outreach to be involved in engagement and diversity. He said emergency management professionalism should focus on identity, credentials, appointment criteria, funding and legislation. He said the conference committees should focus on the core tasks.
President Gard said he believes the EMAT mission is all inclusive, and he intends to create a private sector committee. He closed by saying that a strong state emergency management association helps the local emergency management agencies.
In May 2019 a new mission statement was approved by the EMAT President and added to the website. The mission statement was changed to the following:
To promote training and the dissemination of information in order to achieve the best practices, identify advocacy issues, improve education, and facilitate programs that enhance the performance, effectiveness, and expertise of a diverse membership of engaged professionals contributing to the preparedness and safety of Tennesseans and protecting property.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: In June 2019 the TCSA director ended the TCSA relationship with EMAT since the workload of both associations proved to be too much for the employees to handle. A single conference was originally envisioned to be less stress for the staff since the original plan was to have a joint conference, but the staff eventually had to support two separate conferences annually. The inability to merge the conferences caused strain for several reasons, the most problematic being the associations each wanted to meet in different places in the state and most of the hotels could not logistically support the large number of delegates attending a merged conference. The director said the termination would be effective on July 1st, but the website could be left in place until the end of the year. TSCA provided strong conference support in October 2019 and assisted with transitioning the web site.).
On June 6, 2019 President Gard called for the Treasurer’s Report and was told we had $130,000 in the bank. He discussed the salary survey and said he recognized the sensitivity of the varying amounts of salaries across the counties.
President Gard presented the bombshell announcement that TCSA had requested to terminate its joint relationship with EMAT. According to President Gard, the separation was requested because it was taking so much time away from the base membership of the TCSA (mayors, commissioners, highway supervisors, and county employees), but another reason was no doubt the dramatically increased workload on the staff. This was harder because the two organizations could not find a practical way to merge their conferences into one. A discussion centered on the impact on the business of the association and this led to the realization that EMAT must make some active adjustments to the change requiring more work. TCSA director, David Conner, magnanimously gave the association until the end of the year to totally separate the operations and declared his support until the transition was made. President Gard said web site administration would require a lot more effort, but the loss of the TCSA director salary stipend would free $15,000 to help bring in some part-time staff. The most significant problems include handling the membership adds and losses and associated problems, managing money, handling legislative information and maintaining a good public image, not to mention the need for legwork for increased daily functions.
Chairman Mike Gregory announced the date for the next committee meeting with the intention to tour the conference location and to reach out to various companies to ask vendors to attend the conference. President Gard said he is working on a proposal for the 2020 conference, saying his was focusing on September 21-23.
TEMA Chief of Staff Melisa Hucks asked about progress for completion of topics for the training agenda for this year’s conference. She said there is work needed on linking any required training with TEMA regional directors. She said TEMA is reviewing conference attendees to ascertain those getting scholarship rooms (2 free rooms per county supported by the TEMA grant) and determining who is registered for the conference.
President Gard said this year’s budget expense is $183,750 with $184,100 income. He said this is a balanced budget and we will have to continue to trim to maintain the balance during conference training which may generate some costs.
Historical Committee Chairman John Riley reported on the re-write of the historical summary after combing through the discovered minutes and records from the 80’s which was brought in by President-Elect Jim Tanner (Hickman County). Treasurer Jody Zorsch also provided many valuable digital records from her time in office as president. The committee was praised for the work accomplished so far in the draft summary presented to the board and the re-write performed by Donnie Smith. Chairman Riley said communications between the board and the counties needs to be improved to bring them into the search for old minutes and other records. He suggested bringing all agencies involved with emergency management back to actively work with the board. Asked why this ever changed, he said the choice appears to have been made by the agencies which had too little business in the emergency management field or interest in emergency management meetings.
Historical Committee member Donnie Smith said EMAT has now obtained the complete minutes from 1985 to 1989 and portions of documents for the years 1990 to 1993, but no official records are on hand for the years 1994 to 2016. Some areas are missing due to software attacks. The work will continue with the integration of new- found material into the history, hopefully completing the missing time. Chairman Riley closed with a reminder that everyone needs to search for old records on hand no matter whether they are letters, news stories or minutes.
Legislative Committee Chairman Rickey Graves said that the last change in law may allow emergency management personnel to be recognized for early retirement (which they cannot do now), but he does not have any new information. He set the next legislative committee meeting for this month and said one of his long-range goals is to establish a funding stream for emergency management through the state budget.
Chairman Joey Cooper of the Membership and Outreach Committee reported the EMAT membership number as 521 persons, including nearly 100 TEMA members and 86 expired memberships most of which will probably be renewed. There are two changes of note for emergency managers, a new director of emergency management in Williamson County, Todd Horton, and a new Safety Director in Rutherford County (who is over emergency management, emergency services and fire department hazardous materials response), Kevin Lauer (corrected spelling).
Vice President-Middle Tennessee Jeremy Holley discussed a training opportunity using HMPG (Hazardous Materials Grant Program) funds offered through the Department of Transportation. This training, he said, could and should be supported or supplemented with EMAT funds since it would fill in gaps not covered by TEMA.
President Gard said he addressed the Chiefs of Police Association and that proved to be a tough audience. They were apparently cool to his remarks, but he wants to keep looking for ideas (and change some job descriptions) to improve the quality of new emergency management directors in the counties through training. He thought this would have to be done in appropriate steps and not all at once.
President-Elect Jim Tanner said he has worked with Strategic Planning and that one of his jobs is to improve communications to the membership on EMAT projects. He said his work on IMT (Incident Management Teams), all of whom are first responders, was not communicated well to the counties and that many directors did not understand how these teams could help them. He said he wants to continue the effort on EMST’s (Emergency Management Support Teams) which will support the local emergency operations center and which would be local emergency-management heavy, drawing in other county directors to obtain the needed expertise.
President Gard then introduced TEMA Director Sheehan who discussed the Tennessee State Flood Plain Management Conference, which is now under TEMA by executive order. He talked about how proud he is of the state completing its third re-accreditation under EMAP (Emergency Management Assessment Program). He said the Regional Coordination Centers (regional directors of TEMA) should improve their communication with the counties. He said TEMA had just finished its audit by the State Comptroller (also known as the Sunset Audit), and the largest issue was training. He said a lot of effort needs to be placed on getting the BEOP (Basic Emergency Operations Plan) updated annually. He asked EMAT for assistance with the counties on this update work. He also spoke about the need for County Mitigation Plans, the lack of which is holding back additional federal funds which the state needs. He said the SERC (State Emergency Response Commission) has been re-blued (SARA Title III program), and he reminded the counties to complete their nominations for the LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee).
President Gard said his next meeting would be with John Riley and Donnie Smith (immediately after the board meeting) to receive a briefing on some new ideas regarding how to improve the association and help support emergency management. The meeting is to provide ideas for goals and to help support information dissemination previously requested by STC (Standards, Training and CEMP) Committee.
On July 10, 2019 President Gard called the Board of Directors to order with a report from President-Elect Tanner on IMT/EMST (EMST (incident management teams/emergency management support teams) identifying the contractor, Geoff Williford. He discussed the covering governance, credentialing, and assignments. Most of the focus was on IMT’s since the team has not begun to work on EMST’s (as much). He said the team is catching up after several emergencies and a state activation for flooding. He noted that the IMT elements will be in Shelby County, Murfreesboro and Knoxville.
President Gard then introduced TEMA Director Sheehan, who reported that TEMA is involved in a lot of training currently and that he expects to continue that heavy training because of anticipated local EM director turnover after the recent elections. He reiterated that the biggest fault found in the Sunset Audit by the State Comptroller team was the lack of update of BEOP’s (basic emergency operations plan) or even having a copy of the approved county plan at TEMA as required by the TEMP . He said that his visits to counties had been interrupted by the latest flood emergencies, but they would be picked up again and the BEOPs would be a topic. He said the FIST (FEMA Incident Support Team) team creation in Tennessee is the second one in the nation. He said he anticipated that emergency planning zones will be reduced in size soon, and that Tennessee is still leading the nation in nuclear (response) development. He said he plans to standardize grant forms to reduce multiple reporting. He said a group has been formed to survey the possibility of placing mobile homes here in the event of a major disaster. Finally, he said that he intends to attempt (again) to re-create a digital listing of resources found in the cities and counties so they can more easily be found when needed.
President Gard then called for issues in the minutes and two were presented, a correction on the roll call and a name change for Kevin Lauer. No other issues were brought up and the minutes were approved with the changes.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch reported there is $106,000 in checking and $27,000 in savings, a total of $133,000 in the bank.
Vice President-East Judy Wasik requested clarification on the Hyder Award which developed into a discussion involving a potential name change of this award to the Suiter Award (found in the old minutes), but the discussion was tabled for further review. The discussion led to talk about a new TEMA award which would be similar to the EMAT Achievement Award intended to honor Bill Worth (who recently passed away). The first presentation was to be to his wife. VP-West Hunter Winfrey discussed the upcoming hazardous materials conference (LEPC, local emergency planning committee, SARA-Title III) on July 23rd, and pointed out that this would be the cheapest good meal in West Tennessee and that the conference had good sponsors.
Vice Chairperson Adrienne Snapp reported on award forms placed on the web site and indicated that the Awards and Nominations Committee is continuing to work on the proposal to change the name of some awards. She said the committee will present it to the membership for approval. The discussion then returned to a Bill Worth Award and how it conflicts with requirements for the EMAT Achievement Award. She said the award idea was introduced by Craig Hanrahan at TEMA and that there is still a possibility of merging two awards to prevent two awards for the same thing, even though one is from TEMA and the other is from EMAT.
President Gard discussed the results of the conference site tour performed by the Conference Committee (Chairman Mike Gregory was not present). He said he had made a deposit on a reception planned in the Sun Sphere. He again described a problem with the former management of the Sun Sphere restaurant which charged EMAT twice by credit card for the same food and that the company had said they would correct the charges, but has not. President Gard said the company went out of business and now cannot be found.
President Gard said that now the number of vendors for the conference has increased to the double digits.
Education Sector Committee Robie Robinson said his committee is focusing on education continuity planning. He said he is looking for a new (vice) chairman since Brenna Morse was required by her new supervisor at the Department of Health to withdraw from the committee.
Chairman John Riley (Volunteer-Tullahoma) of the Historical Committee complimented member Donnie Smith for the progress of the historical summary. He discussed how the summary of minutes had become more complete than ever (over 30 pages) and has now summarized almost all the minutes on hand (making them easier to read). Only the 90’s period now shows a total absence of official records, but the search continues. Once the summarization is readable and not just a historical record, they will be posted on the web site.
Chairman Danny Jowers (Dyer County) of Finance, Ways and Means Committee said that the committee had developed two budgets and requested that the board select the one desired. One includes the $20,000 line to hire part-time support persons to replace the capability lost through the TSCA (Tennessee County Services Association) withdrawal. He said a job description will be developed for the new EMAT position and will be announced by separate email. The board approved the budget version with $20,000 to hire a part-time person, require the applicants to submit a resume and a cover letter, and then require the three EMAT presidents (that is, the President, the President-Elect, and the Immediate Past President) to perform the interview and submit their joint recommendation to the board. President Gard said the withdrawal of TCSA from the agreement with EMAT would cause a change in expenditures and could eat into the reserve within two years. There is an intent to build up enough sponsors in that time (with the direct work of the applicant to obtain sponsors) to offset what is being paid out. The amount now being paid to the TCSA director ($15,000) will be diverted to help cover the expense.
Chairman Ed Wolff of the Standards, Training and CEMP Committee said he needed help on the CEMP (certified emergency management professional) list of persons who had been approved in the past. Secretary Donnie Smith agreed to help with this since he has many earlier official records and could extract many names from the minutes. (Editor’s Note: Several emails followed with 20-30 names sent to Chairman Wolff.)
President Gard discussed adding to the strategic plan after having received “a large number” of ideas for goals and improvements (four slides of proposals) from board members Donnie Smith and John Riley. He said he would select from these for additions to the plan.
President Gard said he wanted to elevate the EMAT public information officer (one of the suggestions) to be a member of the board and assign that person to assist with social media. This fits in with replacing the staff of TCSA who has done most of this work lately. A change to the by-laws would be required for membership approval at the 2019 workshop. President Gard said he would be working on getting a person to fulfill many of the missing duties from the change in status with TCSA.
On August 1, 2019 President Gard announced that he had nine applications for the Administrative Assistant position that had been advertised for the association. The position was described as part-time and limited in scope due to its part time nature, but all the applicants were good quality.
TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan was introduced, but he said he was just “saying hello” and had no issues to present.
Corrected minutes were approved and the name of the contractor for the digital registration process was corrected: Geoff Williford.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch reported no change of the amount of money on hand, $133,000.
East Tn Vice President Judy Wasik wanted clarification on when memberships expire. The membership year was identified as ending August 31, so memberships would start on September 1 st.
West Tn Vice President Winfrey said the West Tennessee LEPC conference had 180 attendees and that barbeque was served and said this is really where EMAT supports hazardous materials training.
Awards and Nominations Chairman James Medling reminded everyone that the suspense date for submission of awards (for the conference) is September 1st.
Conference Committee Chairman Mike Gregory reported that there are already 40 registered attendees for the conference on October 14-16, 2019 in Knoxville, TN. He said digital support on Twitter is being handled by new PIO Hannah Bleam (Williamson County EMA). There are now 17 vendors for the conference with the addition of AmeriStar and LiveSafe. Chairman Gregory said the committee is still working on the main speaker.
Registration Subcommittee Chairman Johny Farris (Covington) said he had received requests for scholarship rooms (free rooms at 2 per county) from 20 counties. Members of the EMAT should notify him of the date of their planned arrival and their probable departure to guarantee a room for the board members.
Education Sector Committee Chairman Robie (Robbie) Robinson said he has found a new Vice Chairman, Tim Huggins from Johnson University. He said the committee is focusing on what would cause education sector personnel to want to attend the conference.
Secretary and Historical Committee member Donnie Smith (Volunteer- Rutherford County) reported on behalf of Chairman John Riley (who was absent) that minutes are not available for the period 1991 to 2006. He asked everyone to focus on this period and if anyone knows where these records could be to notify the board. The summarization of minutes continues and will soon be in a readable history, a long and arduous process.
Legislative Committee Chairman Rickey Graves (Gibson County) said he has met with TEMA Director Sheehan to see if he is opposed to seeking legislative support for additional state funding of emergency management with the goal of having a full-time emergency management director for every county. He said the director cannot actively support this idea, but said he is not opposed to it. Chairman Graves suggested that the committee will probably call a special meeting to develop a plan of action. President Gard said he wanted the language to focus on funding the emergency management program and not just on the additional directors. He proposed that requiring additional state funds to go only to counties with full-time directors would work to encourage those counties without a full-time director to obtain funding, especially if they know this is an annually funded line by the state. The term “community resilience” was used to describe this enhancement process. Chairman Graves said the plan must be put in writing and that talking points must be developed.
President Gard announced that Membership and Outreach Committee Chairman Joey Cooper (Wilson County) has resigned. He said a replacement has not yet been named. He reported that now only 11 counties do not have emergency management director representation in EMAT.
President Gard asked Chris Bell (Hamblen County), Private Sector Subcommittee Chairman, to report on his efforts to build membership in this area. He said he believed that 100-125 people from the private sector would attend the conference. Chairman Bell discussed efforts at Vanderbilt University through John Walsh and Adam Stewart who are working on a tabletop creation. President Gard said he or President-Elect Jim Tanner will attend the Healthcare Coalition Conference on August 15th. He said the subcommittee may grow into a full committee (depending upon results). President-Elect Jim Tanner said this great effort may move the needle on emergency management (increasing attendance).
Chairman Ed Wolff of the Standards, Training and CEMP Committee said he is not yet ready to provide an update on the applications he has received. He said the committee has eight new ones under review. He said one of his goals is to work closer with TEMA on training. He proposed to develop EMAT support to proctor a CEM training session practice exam at the conference. He said he believes the CEMP needs some realignment, possibly eliminating the four-year degree as one of the optional criteria. He asked the board to approve recertification of Joey Zorsch for CEMP, and the board did.
President Gard said the EMAT web site needs to be updated and improved to enhance the marketing of emergency management.
President-Elect Jim Tanner said he would like to see an EMAT representative at TEMA (SEOC) activations to coordinate the EMST (Emergency Management Support Team). He said this representative would take on the EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) role to handle this deployment. He discussed the progress of IMT (Incident Management Team) building and said the last step is setting up governance in writing.
President Gard asked for the capture of groups the board thought were stakeholders in EMAT and the board came up with this list:
County emergency management directors
Members of local emergency management planning committees
Members of TEMA
Local mayors and commissioners
Health and environmental safety personnel
Fire chiefs and firemen
Emergency medical service (ambulances) members
911 operators and management
Law enforcement personnel
Higher education and education sector public safety personnel
Public and private school safety personnel
Critical infrastructure personnel
VOAD (volunteer organizations active in disasters) personnel
CAP (civil air patrol) personnel
State ESC (Emergency support coordinators)
Amateur radio personnel
Entertainment and sports safety personnel
Private sector emergency management personnel
The board did not have time to determine the levels of involvement of these stakeholders or whether it is a complete list (it is not, e.g., National Guard or active military emergency management, federal government civilian EM (FEMA) and other support personnel, such as church volunteers, transportation department emergency personnel, park rangers, etc. There was no action by the board to prioritize the list by influence.
President Gard said the next effort would be to interview the applicants for the Administrative Assistant position and announce a new hire.
(EDITOOR'S NOTE: Thirty-one-year EMAT member [June 1988] and Historical Committee Chairman John Riley passed away unexpectedly on August 18, 2019 due to a heart attack.)
On September 5, 2019 President Brian Gard introduced TEMA Director Sheehan and former Director Jim Bassham who were present to support a potential emergency (hurricane support). President Gard held a moment of silence in honor of John Riley, long-time board member. President-Elect Tanner presented another update on the IMT (Incident Management Team) program and said the paperwork to support certification has not yet been submitted to FEMA.
President Gard recognized Treasurer Jody Zorsch who again reported $133,000 in the bank of the association. She said she still could not identify the deposits. She said TCSA has deposited all the receipts in their own account and have not broken it out to show the treasurer the EMAT amounts. She said there is a tendency for the members who are registering to overpay which will require a refund later. This may be due to the way the form is displayed on-line and could be confused for a requirement of an additional meal ticket. She said a change should be made to the appearance of the on-line form for the next conference to show that meals are included in the registration unless an unregistered person (a guest) needs a meal ticket.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling said the legislative awards are ready for presentation. These awards are for support legislation for first responder death benefits and EM definition update. A nomination was received for the late John Riley to be presented the Bill Hyder Award, the association’s highest. The motion was approved by the board. Donnie Smith was requested by President Gard to contact Mrs. Lorna Riley to invite her to the conference to accept the award.
Director Patrick Sheehan was invited to speak in case he had to leave early. He said that Hurricane Dorian has struck the Carolinas when all the teams sent by Tennessee had gone to Florida to provide support. He said he was present at the SEOC to help re-direct teams to North Carolina. He said this included the large swift water rescue team, and that fortunately it was re-directed before everyone was fully deployed.
Conference Committee Chairman Mike Gregory was not present, but Registration Subcommittee Chairman Johny Farris, reported 194 rooms out of 200 (free) scholarship rooms had been reserved and that 95 rooms out of 150 paid rooms had been reserved for registrations. He said 110 persons had registered and that 22 vendors were registered. He requested the board’s advance team to arrive on Sunday at 3 pm in the Holiday Inn Downtown lobby at 525 Henley Street.
President-Elect Tanner announced the TENA conference at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro on September 8-9. Jody Zorsch, Jim Tanner and Donnie Smith agreed to attend to man the vendor booth at this conference. (Editor’s Note: Chris Bell also attended the conference.)
Private Sector Subcommittee Chairman Chris Bell said there had been two healthcare coalition meetings already this year, and that he was hoping for a higher registration from many of these people at the EMAT conference. He said 20 of 100 had already signed up. President Gard said he attended the Healthcare Coalition Conference and had spoken to the membership. He said they did not have a strength in planning and that they could benefit from the EMAT conference (training) in this area.
President Gard said it is important to communicate with each other before the conference, especially in the event of an emergency. He said he expected approximately 40 speaker gifts to be managed by the conference committee.
President Gard discussed the interview process for 9 applicants for the EMAT part-time positions and said he believed that after working through the applicants that there is a need for 2 positions, each handling different functions. He said the cost would be split between them. The positions would be called: EMAT Administrator (Maureen Culberson) and Outreach Coordinator (Mike Gregory).
President Gard said there would be one more meeting before the conference.
On October 3, 2019 President Gard began the Board of Directors meeting with recognition of the EMAT attendees to the 911 (or Numbers) Conference in Murfreesboro this month at the Embassy Suites Hotel. He was proud that EMAT had extended a team to operate a vendor booth. The team included Jim Tanner, Jody Zorsch and Donnie Smith. Chris Bell also came for a short time.
President Gard called for a Treasurer’s Report even though Treasurer Zorsch was not present. He reported from her e-mail that we now have $156,700 in the bank and that a Certificate of Insurance is needed for the conference, a requirement of the convention center.
Since TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan was present, President Gard asked if he would like to address the board. Director Sheehan said the Department of Commerce is looking for 67 counties that are eligible for a recovery grant (counties which may have flood damages) from the recent federally-declared disaster. He said he did not know how much the grant is for, but it is under FEMA Disaster #4427. He said he had visited some 60 counties, and due to turnover (of directors) he will probably go to some of those again as well as the remaining counties. He said that 93 counties have either finished or begun their Mitigation Plans (which would make them eligible for 10% more money once every county in the state has a plan). He mentioned the “Brick Plan” for 2018 that provides base line money for this program, but the deadline for application is
December 31 (presumably 2019). He said this is also the date the BEOP dashboard will go live (on the internet), complete with a color map of the counties that have been approved and those that have not. He said he wanted to get the warning out soon so that those counties who have not complied have time to get their plan started.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling said that three persons have been nominated for the EMAT Achievement Award: Jimmy Holden, Josh Wickham (TEMA) and Colin Ickes (Knox County) for assignment with the fire teams in California. The business nominated for award was Accurate Energetic Systems from McEwen, Tennessee, and Ms. Jessie Kelsey accepted the award in of their behalf. An update was presented on the Bill Hyder Award, and Secretary Donnie Smith added the new development that Lorna Riley (widow of John Riley), his daughter Lisa, son Jack and cousins CT and James Griffin) will attend the ceremony to receive the award on John’s behalf.
Conference Committee Chairman Mike Gregory said there are 299 persons now registered for the upcoming conference and there are now 30 or more vendors. He reported that Verizon is the sponsor for the hospitality gathering that will be held in the Sunsphere on Saturday of the conference and they will also sponsor a meal. Graphic Creations will manufacture signs for the conference. He said he intends to unload gear and other conference items on the advance party at 3 pm on Sunday, October 13.
President-Elect Jim Tanner reported (again) that the only step left in the AHIMT (All- Hazards Incident Management Team) program is governance. (EDITOR’s NOTE: Governance must be provided formally by TEMA acting for the governor, from the governor or from the state legislature.) He said deployment would likely be for 120 days if called up by FEMA, perhaps less for other emergencies.
Education Sector Committee Chairman Robie Roberson reported that the committee is focusing on universities and community colleges for growth and not yet on high schools.
Private Sector Subcommittee Chairman Chris Bell said he expects 55 members to show up from the CMS17 area (medical services). He said the health CEU (continuing education units) authority had been received, and Secretary Smith said it would be at least 12.5 hours again for attendance (Editor’s Note: The state actually authorized twenty hours in CEUs based upon training provided.)
President Gard reminded everyone of the plan to move the conference to March, and although a few board members had reservations, all other dates had conflicts of greater impact in 2020. He suggested an exercise or other special event could be held to offset the move so momentum would be maintained with the membership (proposed by Ricky Graves). President Gard also asked if everyone liked the format of the conference, and although no one spoke up, there were no negative responses. The board approved the 2020 conference in September and a shorter version of the conference in the transition period to March 2021 (that plan includes holding the conference permanently in March from then on).
President Gard said there is a store that wants to sell items with our logo on them and that they would give us a “cut” from the sales if we agreed. There was a lot of discussion, but eventually there was no objection, and it was suggested that we get the EMAT logo trademark-protected before proceeding with commercial sales arrangements. The board passed a motion to this effect.
On October 16, 2019 President Gard called the full membership of the conference to order in the Lecture Hall of the Knoxville Conference Center on Henley Drive in Knoxville, TN. He presented a slide show to describe the business of the association and its goals for the year 2019 and the year to come.
He mentioned the efforts of the Legislative Committee chaired by Ricky Graves and the legislation that had passed. He described the program to distribute information to legislators regarding support for fulltime emergency management directors in every county and how important this is in protecting the public.
He pointed out the focus of the Standards, Training and CEMP (Certified Emergency Professional) Committee chaired by Ed Wolff which is performing a comprehensive review of the CEMP program, creating reciprocity with the IAEM CEM program, streamlining the CEMP process and awarding approval now within an average of seven days. He said this promotes progression to CEMP through attaining the lower levels.
President Gard proudly presented the progress of the Tennessee All-Hazards Incident Management Team (TNAHIMIT) program overseen by President-Elect Jim Tanner and the creation of teams in each of the emergency management regions (TEMA), with a team in the Shelby County Office of Emergency Preparedness, a team in Murfreesboro Fire Rescue, and a team in the Sevierville Fire Department. He said this left only the governance approval to be accomplished by the state leadership and FEMA as the last step in progression before the official start of EMST (Emergency Management Support Teams). He spent some time explaining the difference in the two types of teams, the IMT being a response-oriented team on call by FEMA to be sent to large disasters mostly outside the state and the EMST being sent to help the county EOC (emergency operations center) manage the (large number of) responders arriving in response. The EMST philosophically would be created from more experienced managers (mostly from other county directors) who have already received advanced training.
He covered the improved participation within the executive board with the addition of over 30 people participating in the subcommittees, participating in the various functional areas and increasing visibility of emergency management in Tennessee. He reported the hire of two professional consultants on a part-time basis to replace the loss of the administrative tasks and the outreach tasks previously being performed by TCSA, about 10 hours each every week.
President Gard spoke of the upcoming conference being at the location (Knoxville) next year, although a different hotel. After the conference in 2020 he said he intends to change the annual dates of the conference from the fall to a late March conference.
He recognized that he did not meet the 30-day notice of changes (required by the by-laws) to approve a new Public Information Officer (PIO) position on the board, but he said this position would expand communication and public relations. He also requested the membership tentatively approve this and a by-laws change to grant the president the power to appoint people to special boards outside the association (upon request). (Editor’s Note: Although he did not define what the request would do, it would apparently be for advisory panels established by the governor, by the legislature, or by other outside organizations, such as IAEM, FEMA or other federal government organizations, or other agencies asking for qualified emergency managers to represent EMAT). He said he intended to ask for a vote later to get these moves formally approved through an electronic mail vote.
He said he still has two board positions vacant within the Board of Directors, the Membership Outreach Committee Chair and the Historical Committee Chair.
He closed with a questions and answers session, but there were only 2-3 queries and no floor opposition to any of the proposals.
On November 7, 2019 President Gard requested the authority from the board to obtain a copyrite of the EMAT trademark, logo, design and name. The discussion brought out that the cost would likely be $49-$100 each to protect each item from theft or unauthorized copying. The board agreed that the design and logo should be protected, but that the acronym EMAT may be already taken under copyright by Texas. The board passed the motion to include the name of the organization for copyright, if eligible.
Treasurer Jody Zorsch said nothing had been received from credit card deposits from TCSA (Tennessee County Services Association) and nothing had been received to show any credit card deposits. In the absence of this information, she said she could not report on the status of the account. She said we should begin working on reports for the 1099 and IRS 501(c)(3) requirements at the end of the year.
President Gard said he had a new committee member who had volunteered for the Conference Committee, David Kitchen (American Red Cross).
Conference Committee Chairman Mike Gregory reported that this conference has been a success with large attendance by the membership (over 250) and over 30 vendors. He said next year’s conference will be held at a different hotel, the Knoxville Downtown Hilton, with a slight change in the start date beginning on Tuesday and ending on Thursday which tends to clear up weekends from conference activities.
President Gard proposed moving the awards presentation to Tuesday of the conference to improve attendance for the speaker, suggested not scheduling a luncheon on Conference Day 3, and proposed having the membership meeting (and the selection of any new officers) as the last item of business on Day 3. He said those people who then leave early would be making a conscious decision not to vote on new officers. A change was also suggested to issue training certificates to vendors which would support both attendance and career progression. Another suggestion was to create a “Vendor Bingo” game for prizes to improve membership participation in the vendor area. Other suggestions for improvement were to suggest difference types of prizes, such as a free room at the conference or an Amazon gift card.
Conference Chairman Gregory said he wanted to add meals as a tracked item in the digital registration (on-line form for registration) to try to improve attendance and meal use, rather than just assuming all members would attend the meal that is included with registration. Another suggestion was to implement fewer break-out sessions to reduce the number of speakers and associated equipment requirements (such as overhead projector costs). He also suggested increasing the number of times the subject is presented to offset the reduced sessions. Scholarship Registration Subcommittee Johny Farris (Chester County) said we would have to “more carefully” control the assignment of rooms next year due to a lower number of available rooms in the reserved block.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling (Dyer County) reported that awards were ready for those who sponsored the law that expanded the definition of first responders, and which provided increased benefits for first responder families. He said the plaques, for Representative Curtis Halford and Senator John Stevens, had been passed to Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves for action. President Gard said to set up a date, coordinate with him and together they would make the formal presentation to the two legislators.
President Gard said, with approval of Chairman Graves, he had added Ava Korby (TCSA) to the Legislative Committee.
President-Elect Tanner (Hickman County) said he is now working hard to significantly improve the services of emergency management. He said the members of the Governor’s Committee for Rural Initiatives, which includes Logan Hess and Brandon Gibson, were being contacted to provide more emergency management information regarding the needs of the state. He said the IMT (Incident Management Team) program has been implemented and is now prepared to operate. He said the EMST (Emergency Management Support Teams) side needs some more effort, and we need to keep the pressure up within the organization to build these teams.
Secretary Donnie Smith suggested that EMAT could save money by purchasing their own screens for use at the conferences; but President Gard felt that this could be a service provided by a company and thus avoid the problem of storing screens and equipment and transporting them each year.
President Gard said the incoming revenue numbers from the conference and the bills have not been firmed up, but it appears that the conference paid for itself at “close to $35,000 or $40,000” (his numbers). He said he wanted to send EMAT board members to other conferences to build up participation, add to membership and improve cooperation. He said we need to use these visits to “mine for speakers” at our conferences. Secretary Donnie Smith distributed newly printed “reasons to belong” recruiting cards for new prospects at vendor booths for conferences. The new cards were titled “Turning Crises into Just Emergencies” and, on the front they give a pitch about what emergency managers do, and on the back, show 12 of the most obvious reasons to belong to EMAT. The board approved the card and its promotions and authorized reimbursement of $840 for 1000 cards printing costs.
Secretary Smith said he had been having trouble opening some of the areas on the EMAT web site. President Gard said he did not have this problem. The difficulty turned out to be that the Microsoft search engine will not open all areas of the web site, while Google, Firefox and some others will open every area. It was agreed that the website should be open to the public, except for the mobile cell numbers of local emergency managers. President Gard wanted to apply the transition app to the web site to ensure that the upcoming conference is promoted, not just provide a report on the past conference. Since it has been agreed that the dates of future conferences will be changed in the Spring of 2021 (probably the end of March to avoid Spring break), a special conference will be developed which may focus on an exercise.
Education Sector Chairman Robie Robinson said he felt that his area did not have a good turnout during the conference, so more work is required to build participation.
President Gard said he has appointed Tammy Fowler (TVA) as Chairperson of the Membership and Outreach Committee. She presented an interesting summary of her personal history and her immediate plans for the committee. President Gard said Chris Bell (Morristown-Hamblen County) will continue as chair for the Private Sector Subcommittee.
President Gard stated again that he wants to officially change the by-laws to authorize the Public Information Officer on the board (Hannah Bleam of Williamson County was appointed). He said also that Susan Hall wants to assist her with public relations and would serve in a subcommittee assignment.
After a lengthy discussion about obtaining CEU’s through Roane State Community College, the board showed its concern about EMAT selecting only one educational institution to identify with and the worry it could possibly exclude other institutions. There was no objection to the partnership if it does not prevent other institutions from getting involved. President Gard said we need to clean up scanning and tracking if we are going to grant CEU’s since the state has a tracking requirement to award the hours. A discussion ensued on how to clean up the web site, to make its pages at other levels look similar to the intro page, to limit certain areas to members only and to clearly define what these areas are and to prepare to transfer the domain from TCSA to EMAT. He suggested creating an on-going budget line to approve costs since it is obvious that we intend to retain the website.
President Gard said there would be no meeting in December and that January would be the next official meeting.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This year there is a scheduled election of a new president-elect at the fall conference under the current by-laws. Traditionally, the president-elect would assume office as president at that time.)
On January 2, 2020 President Brian Gard (UTK OEM, Knox County) called for the Treasurer’s Report from Treasurer Jody Zorsch who reported that EMAT has $167,000 in the bank. She said vendors had put in $24,000 and TEMA had contributed up to $70,000 as a grant. The association with TCSA (Tennessee County Services Association) has not yet closed out, but the closure is working with a few financial issues still unsettled, and that the web site is being transferred to EMAT.
President Gard said the credit card company paid the fraud claim involving the Sunsphere restaurant, a total of $2,600. President Gard said he believes the association ended up in the black after the conference.
Public Information Officer Hannah Bleam (PIO/Williamson County) reported that the website now interfaces with Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and others as the transition continues. She said the site is “evolving” and requests the members to build it into their reports. She anticipates a closer relationship with TEMA and is now working on posting stories. She said she is now using live-streaming and is creating a channel for the next conference. She also said there is no reason to stovepipe stories or pictures (that is, go through the president) and instead suggested that stories go direct to her. President Gard said the website is now our (EMAT’s) domain and Maureen Culberson is the webmaster.
President Gard called for a report from the Vice Presidents. Vice President Jeremy Holley said, as requested by the President, that he had a nominee for the Tennessee Emergency Services Board and Vice President Judy Wasik said she had one too. No names were mentioned.
President Gard asked for committee reports, so Awards and Nominations Committee chair James Medling reported he had delivered the requested awards for legislators as approved by the board. He proposed that the presentation be made during the EMAT Day on the Hill, and President Gard agreed that would be appropriate.
Vice Chairperson Adrienne Snap reported that she is working on her Masters’ Degree from Columbia State University and has received a remarkable offer from the university to join a non-binding partnership to present “free books” to EMAT members who enroll in a course at CSU. The board then began a long discussion about whether this arrangement would prevent other institutions from associating with EMAT, but finally resolved that the offer was significant and should be accepted. The board passed a motion to receive this offer as a benefit of tuition discount and directed Adrienne to work out the details with the university so that the option could be publicized.
President Gard announced the appointment of Tammy Fowler (Senior Program Manager for Emergency Planning and Exercises at TVA in Chattanooga) as chairperson of the Membership and Outreach Committee. Chairperson Fowler said she has already reached out to “Health & Medical Services” (Private Sector) Subcommittee Chairman Chris Bell and that he would be working to participate in informational fairs and conferences. She said she was preparing a calendar for these events and said she will also be working on a membership database.
President Gard announced that James Medling was appointed to serve on the Homeland Security Council.
Chairman Ed Wolff, chairman of the Standards, Training and Certification (CEMP) Committee, reported that he is working with TEMA on a recognition for emergency management personnel who complete 500 or 1000 hours of training time. He said the committee is also working on a proposal to alter the educational titles of CEMP. Some discussion developed regarding how this would affect those who has already been validated with an educational level, but there was no immediate answer.
President Gard said there would be one more item of business before adjournment, and declared that the board needs an association liaison with the IAEM (International Association of Emergency Managers). There were no volunteers or nominations, so the issue was tabled.
On January 8, 2020 an EMAT digital newsletter announced that the EMAT Standards, Training and Certification Committee had suspended acceptance of packets for CEMP in anticipation of re-working the entire process. A further notification of the change was announced as pending by Chairman Ed Wolff (University of Tennessee Emergency Operations Office).
On February 6, 2020 President Gard called the board to order and invited TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan to speak first. Director Sheehan said a number of threats were currently in progress, mostly in regarding to flooding. He pointed out that some schools were closing in Rutherford County and Knox County due to high water, and said we, meaning TEMA and LEMD, need to focus on good communication, build a capability and work together. Anticipating approval of the Governor’s Budget by the legislature, he was complimentary of the Governor who was supporting emergency management through the budget, providing enough funds to add another region to the three TEMA regions already existing. Not only that, but a total of 19 positions is being added to TEMA with most of the positions going to Chattanooga and 9 positions being added under Assistant Director Craig Hanrahan. He recognized the great production from the West Region, especially in training, but pointed out the need for help in the East, saying that the long-standing requirement to drive 12-20 hours per coordinator demanded the creation of a new region. Chief of Staff Melisa Hucks would also receive another person to ease her workload. He pointed out the superior performance of not only Melisa, but also Josh Wickham and Mike Meyers and their improved teamwork. He said the administration is highly supportive of emergency management and has showed this by approval of raises in TEMA of an average of 20%, but not less than 15% for any single person. Director Sheehan said he was very proud that the emergency management program had been reaccredited now for the third time through EMAP and that the newest plaque had been presented by Robie Robinson (representing EMAP) and Jim Tanner (representing EMAT) to Governor Lee. He mentioned that the increased involvement of everyone in emergency management, even Secretary Donnie Smith in Rutherford County and Danny Jowers in Kenton (Gibson County), along with many others, has helped to meet the increasing number of threats.
President-Elect Tanner spoke then to say that he appreciated the support the counties were now receiving from Director Sheehan and that the emergency managers need to work harder than ever now to tell their stories and go for results. He said this is what gets increased funding support.
Director Sheehan said he now needed feedback from the counties.
EMAT Finance Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jowers said he was proud that the governor has retained TEMA in its role as a semi-independent agency since this has helped strengthen the emergency management performance.
Director Sheehan pointed out that when FEMA Administrator Brock Long came to Tennessee, he made it a point to meet with the Governor and he spoke of the importance of the emergency manager being available to the governor, giving examples of how this had helped in several other instances. Director Sheehan said, apparently addressing a rumor, that he had no intention of bringing Homeland Security into emergency management, that it has a different mission, and that he supports the new director of Homeland Security. He said he believes that a strong partnership will be forged over the next seven years.
President Brian Gard paused to emphasize how important it is to help part-time directors in the state and that EMAT wants legislators to know that this is the next area of focus for preparedness.
Secretary Donnie Smith said we must not allow to stand a misunderstanding of what emergency management is and that although it does include response, it has an entirely different mission from emergency medical service as one senator recently confused with EMAT. President-Elect Tanner said he was never able to properly address emergency management until he was able to persuade Hickman County’s executive leadership to make two directorates out of what once was a combined emergency medical service and emergency management agency. Secretary Smith said the education effort needs to be strongly maintained by everyone, including TEMA, working on professionalizing emergency managers, and maintaining the emphasis on training and education of the emergency management team so people will be reliable in their jobs.
President Gard turned to the Chairman of Awards & Nominations Committee, and Vice Chairperson Adrienne Snap (Williamson County Operations) who spoke of the importance of announcing the Columbia State University program that would pay for books of EMAT members who had enrolled in courses at CSU. She spoke of the benefits of membership, marketing of the program, and requested permission to push the details of implementation. President Gard asked why she was waiting and reiterated his support of the committee chairs to take action that needed to be taken. He said all chairmen have authority to act in their area. Secretary Smith said not only would the program need the details of who receives the benefits and how to apply, other tools such as the “Benefits of Belonging to EMAT” cards, membership pins, and other branded items should be used in the campaign to tell the emergency management story. President Gard said we must communicate the story with the membership and the EMAT PIO, Hannah Bleam (Williamson County), to put the program on-line.
A discussion took place to change the Bill Hyder Award (which originated in the transition from Civil Defense) to become the Bill Worth Award to focus on emergency management. President Gard requested that Vice Chairperson Adrienne Snapp coordinate with Craig Hanrahan at TEMA for the proper verbiage for the award, to ensure the award is presented only for the highest professional service and to ensure that only one person annually would be eligible for the award. He said the award will be presented by TEMA and EMAT together and the Awards & Nominations Committee must work out the recommendation process and improve the criteria language to prevent confusion over what the award is for. The board passed the motion merging the awards into one and moved to ensure the criteria reflects the highest service in emergency management. The award will now be known for TEMA regional director Bill Worth who worked so hard to promote emergency management across all agencies.
A discussion then centered on the problems encountered by retaining “old cookies” in a member’s computer which would direct any search for EMAT to go to the older EMAT web site (which is not kept up-to-date). Hannah then said everyone should go to the back-end of their application, delete the cookies and then access the new web site location. She went on to say that Social Media needs a policy to guide “on-line” access and use.
President Gard asked for the report on the next conference, and Conference Chairman Mike Gregory said he had sent information to both vendors and sponsors to announce next year’s conference dates. He has set March 1st as the goal for the conference budget using last year’s budget as a guide. President Gard said the registration form is prepared and will use PayPal for payments. He said when using credit cards the registration will be accomplished quickly, or a receipt would be issued if a registration is requested accompanied by a check or a request without payment, understanding that the net is expected within 60 days. Chairman Gregory requested approval of the plan to hold the 2021 and 2022 conferences in Franklin, Tennessee (Middle Tennessee). His plan was for the 2021 conference to be held in Cool Springs on April 13-15 and the same site in 2022 for the period April 19-21. There will be no fee for parking at this conference site. The board approved the proposed dates.
EMAT Administrator Maureen Culberson said she had received six more memberships.
FWM Committee Chairman Jowers reminded everyone that the proposed budget must go to Finance, Ways and Means Committee for review once it is prepared and that income and expenses must balance. He said our goal from this point on is to balance each conference budget so that membership fees or payments for education certification (non-conference income) do not support the conference and that the conference instead supports itself. He said our policy will be that persons attending the conference without having paid will be expected to make arrangements to pay before they leave.
President Gard requested the Education Sector Committee report and Vice Chairman Tim Huggins (Johnson University) said a survey was being accomplished to identify emergency management positions in higher education with the goal of improving “service to higher education,” apparently meaning to focus on subjects the members are interested in and to offer better subjects for conference training (this being said in earlier meetings).
Historical Committee Chairman Daryl Justice eloquently discussed the goals and objectives developed for the committee after he was appointed chairman by President Gard. He covered each of the goals and pointed out that the objectives supported the Board of Directors in their efforts to provide service to the membership. He said the Board of Directors Plaque would be updated soon to reflect the discoveries of written documents altering the sequence of presidents. He said that another service which would be provided by the Historical Committee is the identification of trends that might not otherwise be evident and would urge consideration by either the president or the appropriate chair.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves said he had met with the Secretary of State (Trey Hargett) to provide information on Association goals to see a state- funded emergency management program established in every county. He said he felt we could do that by offering a plan to use state funds (if used for the emergency management director position) to annually support each county. He suggested that no county could be hurt by this approach and smaller counties will be helped significantly. Chairman Graves said that the only way we could make this happen would be to gain the Governor’s support through the annual budget. He said this would be a “good lick” to enhance every county’s program. He said we must show the numbers on cost and “back down” the overall cost of the original concept ($5 million plan) to be no more than
$4.3 million. He said there is also a plan to use the money not spent by the counties electing not to participate. He said there would need to be an employee added at TEMA to administer the program and perhaps an embedded liaison in TEMA to represent EMAT’s input. He emphasized that the program would ensure that all state funding would be spent on emergency management agencies and not siphoned to other programs.
Membership and Outreach Committee Chairperson Tammy Fowler said the committee had been recently working heavily on private sector health care to gain new members from this community. She said she was also identifying member expirations to request renewals. She proposed a membership form to build a “demographic picture” of members to improve recruiting. She said they were initially “looking at” (or reviewing) non-governmental organizations and military as potential membership pools. She said the web site is “looking good” and complimented EMAT Administrator Maureen Culberson for improving the appearance of the EMAT home page. She said the committee would also be looking for booth opportunities in other association conferences. Secretary Donnie Smith again repeated that this would be the time to integrate the new “Reasons to Belong to EMAT” information/recruiting cards, the EMAT membership pins, and other recruiting tools such as pens and brand materials. Chairperson Fowler said the committee will use all the tools available to help recruit.
Standards, Training and Certification (CEMP) Committee Chairman Ed Wolff said the STC Committee has developed a proposal to change the name of the CEMP. A discussion was led by President-Elect Tanner to determine if there was a “grandfather” provision for CEMP-TN holders to cross over to the new title. In the same proposal, he said the committee wants to merge the EM1 and EM2 levels into a single level. He said that EMAT should prepare an Instructor Certification Program to match TEMA’s training effort. He proposed three levels of certification but did not identify their titles or requirements. President Gard suggested that the “Training Committee” meet with Maureen Culberson regarding the posting of the CEM plan and details. Chairman Wolff said the date the STC Committee would start taking applications for CEM levels again would be March 1st.
EMAT Administrator Maureen Culberson said she was still researching the logo registration (trademarking).
President-Elect Jim Tanner reported that he had been working with the Pediatric Care Annex of the Children’s Care Alliance of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Health.
President Gard said there was one more item of business before adjournment and said the association needs a liaison to IAEM. After a short discussion the board agreed upon the name of a candidate. President Gard appointed the nominee, David Nock (TEMA training chief and EMAT member), as the EMAT Liaison to IAEM.
Due to a severe tornado emergency in Nashville, the March meeting of the Board of Directors was cancelled. Three tornadoes killed 24 persons and the storms, determined to be up to EF-4 at one location, created damages stretching from Gibson County to Davidson to Wilson to Putnam County.
On April 2, 2020, President Brian Gard called the board to order by video and teleconference. After a moment of silence for Cecil Whaley and Charlie Bryant of TEMA who both passed away within a week of each other, Secretary Donnie Smith inquired of former board member Johny Farris (Covington) regarding his health (no one knew) and whether the board had sent him a “get well” card. The board agreed to send a card. Treasurer Jody Zorsch reported the association having $146,000 in the bank, and that venders had sent $3900 from the conference. President Gard said we should move some of that amount back into savings to reduce the card operating account. A motion passed to correct a negative amount posting of $1,658.77 to membership rather than administrative expenses. Treasurer Zorsch submitted a corrected report before the end of the meeting.
East Tennessee Vice President Judy Wasik fielded a question from Secretary Smith saying there had been no progress on the splitting of the East Tennessee TEMA Region into two and hiring a new regional director. (Editor’s Note: The impact of this is that the association would probably have to create a new vice president for the new region.)
West Tennessee Vice President Hunter Winfrey (Fayette County) reported that his first responders were using up his supply of PPE (personal protective equipment) unnecessarily since the county is not being advised by the Tennessee Department of Health regarding who has received a positive test for COVID-19 (or address). Emergency managers and first responders often must answer emergency calls to people's homes which, to be safe, requires those responders to use PPE (or masks) to protect themselves. With a large number of calls, the PPE on hand runs out. The county should be provided with the names and addresses of those persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 in order to mask up only for these. He said, this may be a privacy issue, but it seriously affects the well-being of other citizens. Vice President Winfrey said he may lose more responders due to exposure to COVID-19 since he is not being told who in his county has been exposed. He said there is also a flyer out from New York asking for medical volunteers at the rate of $10,000 per week which also threatens his capability. After some discussion, the recommendations were to a) have concerned county emergency managers talk with their mayors so they can advise the governor of the problem when he visits East Tennessee soon, b) discuss the issue with Director Patrick Sheehan of TEMA and request he ask the FEMA regional administrator to seek redress of the rule for release of this information under the HIPAA act (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). [This act is administered by the Office of Civil Rights and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.], and c) coordinate with TASA (Tennessee Ambulance Service Association) to jointly make a complaint to FEMA. President Gard said he would coordinate with Director Sheehan.
President Gard said this brings up a long-time unresolved issue of where EMAT should fall in the operations arena versus the “other” (political) arena. The issue remained unresolved.
Membership Committee member Susan Hall reported she was researching federal funding for management of IMT’s (Incident Management Teams) and the rules regarding the use of the funds. The discussion led to assignment under the SEOC (State Emergency Operations Center) which is primarily staffed by TEMA and ESC’s (Emergency Service Coordinators from various departments).
Conference Committee Chairman Mike Gregory said he had ensured a clause to be inserted in the hotel contract for EMAT to be able to withdraw from the next conference without penalty if the conference had to be cancelled or postponed to later than September. He said he had received several vendor commitments to attend the conference, including NACO (National Association of Counties), Verizon ($7500), AT&T, Airmark, and others. He was requested to send the documentation for attendance to Maureen Culberson (EMAT Administrative Coordinator). He suggested some topics for the conference would include statewide response, tornadoes, and COVID-19.
Historical Committee Chairman Daryl Justice reported that the history of EMAT had been completed and sent to each board member for review. He called member Donnie Smith an “unsung hero” for the work since he has compiled the material over a period of 4-5 years and has re-worked it to make it more readable.
Standards, Training and Certification Committee (STC) Chairman Ed Wolff said the re-write of the rules for CEMP designation continues and has caused the deadline to begin reviewing applications again (March 1st) to be missed.
Secretary Donnie Smith asked if TCSA has totally separated from EMAT now, and President Gard said that it had.
Membership member Susan Hall reported that the committee is looking for other conferences so that recruiting can begin, but that most conferences had been cancelled or delayed during this time (due to the coronavirus). There are some other projects that are being prepared for later in the year.
President-Elect Jim Tanner asked that any on-line stories on the web site also be prepared for “Linked In” as well as “Facebook” so that complete access can be had to the story.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling reported that the work to merge the requirement of the old Bill Hyder Award into the new Bill Worth Award is continuing. He said the committee had coordinated with Craig Hanrahan (TEMA) to work on the process.
Chairman Medling also reported on a meeting as the EMAT representative on the Homeland Security Council and said that it appears this year’s federal funds cannot be used to purchase vehicles (no change).
He commended the appearance of the EMAT history and said this was needed.
The regular meeting of the Board of Directors was cancelled in May (scheduled on the 7th) due to a major disaster caused by a coronavirus (COVID-19) that over- whelmed businesses, government and the public. President Gard said he had been slammed at UTK by the effects of the virus and offered a one-on-one question session on the following Saturday from board members who desired an individual update or needed to ask questions. The session was not considered to be a special meeting.
The regular meeting of the Board of Directors was also cancelled in June due to President Gard not being ready to discuss the conference and due to the challenge of events brought on by COVID-19.
On July 2, 2020 a video/teleconference regular meeting was convened by President Gard. There was a quorum, but there was no call for the minutes to be approved since there were no meetings in May and June. Treasurer Jody Zorsch said she had not completed a Treasurer’s Report, but that there was little change from last report. President Gard said he had been extremely busy with COVID-19 issues at UT-K and had been experiencing something similar to a daytime EOC in dealing with issues.
President Gard said his primary goal in this meeting was to address the conference and whether or not to keep it on schedule. He announced his preference to set it back for April 2021 due to the COVID-19 threat and its impact on the membership and the bad example it could set for the public if held. He said he wanted to focus on making the conference very memorable for 2021 and the extra time would expand the number of topics to discuss. He said we should try to return to the Knoxville venue in 2023. The board passed a resolution to officially delay the conference until April 2021 when EMAT will meet in Franklin.
Awards & Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling said he regretted that he would be unable to congratulate Ed Herndon (Unicoi County), who recently passed away, for his 40-year service since that was a significant milestone in the emergency management community. He received the award during the recent conference in Knoxville. Chairman Medling said that leaves only Joe Baxter of Lawrenceburg and himself with the lengthiest service.
Conference Chairman Mike Gregory said he would reach out to the sponsors of this year’s conference and ask them to reserve their scheduling and donations for April in Franklin. He said there were also some members who had paid for the conference who would receive credit for that in the next conference. President Gard said that the cancellation of the conference would not include replacement with a virtual conference due to the problems involved in such preparation and the current emergency situation.
President Gard said he was concerned about the transition of the President-Elect to be President and that Jim Tanner would not be appropriately recognized, but the board suggested that such recognitions could be done with great respect and effect at the next available conference.
A short discussion was held about the excellence of the certified emergency management accreditation in the state and a motion with a few changes was heard to accept the Standards, Training and CEMP Committee’s work in recognizing education and experience in the emergency management field. The changes included wording to ensure that FEMA or TEMA documentation of participation at a disaster was also acceptable for accreditation, that clarification would be made to include volunteers, private sector emergency management specialists and outside agency specialties who could apply for accreditation, that wording would be changed to ensure that persons with more than the required education would not be penalized for accreditation, that a one-year grace period would be added for an expired accreditation period and that current CEMP designations would continue to be recognized.
STC Chairman Edward Wolff said the proposed EMAT Instructor accreditation was a credit to instructors and their capability. He said the idea was originally submitted by TEMA Training Chief Dave Nock. He said this accreditation would fold into the TEMA training classes being accomplished and include some other types of training. He said this concept would not involve a lot of extra podium time. The board accepted the new EMAT accreditation program with the above-mentioned changes, including adopting the new EMAT Instructor accreditation.
Committee Member Donnie Smith spoke on behalf of Historical Committee Chairman Daryl Justice and discussed the updates of the history of the association now found online. The history has now confirmed the presidency and dates of nearly every president with recent uncovered official minutes and other documents. He mentioned the work of Maureen Culberson who was helping with the appearance of the history (found under HOME on the web site with spaces between certain lines and sectioning by date). The history is much more readable with many routine meeting items left out and key subject areas covered in depth.
Membership and Outreach Committee Chairperson Tami Fowler said setting the conference back was a good idea due to the COVID-19 emergency. She said she was impressed with the good professionalism that would be promoted by the new accreditation program. She said that the survey sent to our health care partners (approximately 100 persons) was a good idea and should be followed up on.
On August 7, 2020 President and Board Chairman Brian Gard opened the meeting with a roll call to see who was on the video/teleconference and there proved to be a quorum. Treasurer Jody Zorsch reported $144,000 plus in the bank after paying out $1000 for insurance. She said she was concerned with a large balance under the card account, so she moved $50,000 into savings.
With the next conference coming in the spring in Franklin, Conference Chairman Mike Gregory submitted the 2021 conference budget with a projection of 300 in attendance. He said the COVID-19 issue should be diminished by then and expected a strong interest in emergency management issues that had not been addressed in some time. He said there would be a reception for members. He said rates would be the same at $234 for members, $315 for non-members and $75 for separate meal tickets. He proposed a change in the partnership rules with the top level of at least $10,000 providing large ad opportunities not offered to other vendors at the conference. This would include an ad stuffer in member handout packets. He said he is working on the theme for the conference, perhaps something relating to the pandemic fight. He proposed including a tabletop exercise as well which would meet FEMA/TEMA exercise requirements.
He said the 2023 conference would return to Knoxville in the April 11-13 (just after Easter on April 9) or April 18-20 time frame. The board approved the plans.
Member Donnie Smith of the Historical Committee reported a change in the sequence of presidents (again) based upon evidence uncovered by Chairman Daryl Justice. This was also entered into the Historical Summary for on-line web presentation (under Home on the top line of the web page). Member Smith, reporting for Chairman Justice, said the committee planned to go ahead and change the President’s Plaque since it would cost only a few dollars for the small plates.
President Gard said there could be a requirement for nominations from the floor for officers in the next conference based upon the ability to come up with a good successor for President-Elect Tanner. A discussion could be needed regarding the rules for eligibility for president and perhaps other officers.
President-Elect Tanner reported on the Tennessee Narcotics Officers Association conference and said he was impressed with the number of ads they have in the magazine they publish. He said it is a beautiful magazine which offers a further source of revenue. He said he would pursue the idea to build support for this concept at the conference.
Awards and Nominations Vice Chairperson Adrienne Snapp said the committee is working on the changes to complete the standards for the Bill Hyder Award transitioning to the Bill Worth Award. This effort also requires cooperation and integration of TEMA concerns into the rules.
The regular meeting of the Board of Directors for September was cancelled prior to the annual conference video teleconference scheduled on September 3 on the day after the conference. He said we had too much on our plate already. This is after a specially-called meeting with the TEMA Director, Patrick Sheehan, on September 1 with the annual meeting set for September 2. President-Elect Tanner also announced the 2021 Conference & Training Workshop to be held at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs on April 13-15, 2021.
After cancellation of the board meeting, a videoteleconference was held on September 2, 2020 for all members to join. This on-line meeting served as the annual membership conference.
President and Board Chairman Brian Gard opened by saying there could not be a busier day at the university (UT-Knoxville) than this and that things were “crazy.” He declared a quorum present for business. He remarked that EMAT was financially sound and called upon Treasurer Jody Zorsch for a financial report. She reported that the association is “doing well” financially and that we are “good to go” for the conference next year since we are already $10,000 ahead compared to last year. President Gard said he felt this was a fair comparison even though the cash flow varied considerably during the year since income is derived (principally) from the membership fees and the conference.
With a vote from the “floor,” a motion was approved for the Treasurer’s report.
There was no report from the public information officer or vice presidents.
Standards, Training and CEMP Committee Chairman Ed Wolff then presented his report on education certification improvement. He said there were 16 CEMP’s and one EM-1 approved this year. He said that the new certification program being recommended for approval recognizes two levels: Tennessee CEMP and Associate Emergency Manager and that all applications are now to be submitted digitally (no hard copies are being accepted). He reported that the new program would grant “reciprocity” for IAEM education levels since they are tougher than EMAT standards. He said the digital records would be retained at the EMAT Office by Administrative Coordinator Maureen McCullough. Her work would also include receipt of applications and digital tracking.
He announced that the committee had recommended for approval the first Tennessee CEMP of the new program: Captain David Blevins (Director of the Paramedic Program, Roane State Community College).
The board and the membership approved the David Blevins for TN-CEMP.
Chairman Wolff credited TEMA State Training Manager David Nock with the idea of EMAT recognition of levels of professionalism for emergency management instructors certified by TEMA. He said the new program now recognizes Basic, Senior and Master Instructor when the course of study is completed as defined and certified by TEMA. He also said that Maureen McCullough would track these applications and graduations electronically.
President Gard then asked President-Elect Jim Tanner (Hickman County) to report on EMAT work with IMT (Incident Management Teams). President-Elect Tanner said EMAT is now supporting emergency management training and that the IMT/EMST program received a big improvement with the hiring at TEMA of a coordinator, Ryan Thompson. He reported that qualification applications are now being received. He said an effort is being made to review qualification records to see who has already been trained in the state. There are three teams, one in Shelby County/Germantown, one in Murfreesboro and one in Sevier County. He said the IMT’s would mostly work for the command post of a major disaster. He said he will now focus his work on opening the program up to develop EMST’s (Emergency Management Support Teams) for internal emergencies in Tennessee. He said the EMST program would mirror the IMT program, but that a special EMAT contact or sponsor would be assigned to each team in the state. He said that EMST is finally coming.
President Gard then proudly announced the addition of a PIO to the EMAT team (Hannah Bleam of Williamson County) and an assistant (Susan Hall from TVA) and that EMAT social media had taken a great step forward with their assignment.
He said that two top flight “part-time” employees have been added to supplant the TCSA withdrawal and that they are raising visibility of EMAT.
He said he was proud of the work in professionalizing the emergency management force and that EMAT is sending a message to the rest of the nation that Tennessee is raising the bar on emergency management education and professionalism.
President Gard said he was also proud of the number of faces that had been added to the EMAT board’s operation and that a lot more people are involved in EMAT.
He complimented the EMAT Historical Committee for the creation of the history of EMAT and its placement on-line so that members will know what EMAT has done and how far it had come. He said this is a great looking document and helps everyone know what we are about.
President Gard said that being President of EMAT is like going to school again, and he has enjoyed working with so many great emergency managers.
He then introduced President-Elect Jim Tanner for comments. President-Elect Tanner began with a compliment to President Gard for his leadership and efforts to get more done. He said he knew Brian Gard would be a good president when first faced with a vendor not supporting EMAT very well and he had said he would go over their head and the “bootprint is going to hurt.” President-Elect Tanner said he wanted to thank Brian for all he has done and EMAT past just the conferences. He said that EMAT should be doing something for its members and that we owe them progress.
He then announced that he wanted to start a magazine supporting EMAT and emergency management for greater publicity and as a membership driver. He said we still have a lot of work to do with legislation, especially now that 2020 has brought emergency management to the forefront. He said there is still lots to be accomplished to make the association better.
President Gard then announced that the conference is being moved to April to get away from the conflicts that occur at the end of the year.
He then asked for approval of a by-laws change that does four things:
Adds a PIO to the board of directors.
Allows the president to appoint persons to other external boards or committees after review by the vice presidents and approval of the board of directors.
Alters the membership year, essentially an administrative correction.
Changes the Bill Hyder Award to become the Bill Worth Award for highest service to emergency management.
The board and the membership approved motion to change the by-laws as requested by the President. He received 32 votes for and no votes against. The by-laws were changed as shown in the above paragraph.
President Gard then announced that elections were delayed due to the participation rate of the membership being down on the conference call and said nominations (for vice presidents and president-elect) will be collected by the vice presidents of their region and presented live from the floor at the April conference.
President-Elect Tanner said that past presidents tended to leave and become involved in their own pursuits, and he hoped that President Gard would not do that. President Gard closed by saying he would continue to participate with EMAT and would “not be bailing on Jim Tanner.”
That concluded the conference call (and the annual membership conference) after approximately an hour and a half.
NOTE: This summary will be updated as minutes progress or as evidence is submitted for historical changes. Editing and re-writing by Donnie K. Smith, Secretary, EMAT. Please send any recommended changes to firstname.lastname@example.org.