HISTORY OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF TENNESSEE
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. Nevertheless, Winston Shields had been appointed chairman of the Conference Committee (a voting position).
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 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 is 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 need to address their record.
Chairman James Medling brought two plaques with corrected spelling for Diane Pryor. President Mathews said he preferred to re-write 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 in order 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 charge for a banquet ticket did not gain support due to fears of members not attending the banquet and embarrassing the invited speaker and the 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 which offsets rooms, most food costs and all of training. He also proposed that the key speaker being invited should be Senator Bob Corker (who is being touted as President Trump’s 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 wanted 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 requirements for the second level to the top of IAEM.] 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 (serving as 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 due to the computer crash mentioned earlier. Other periods have been recovered.
President Mac Purdy (Williamson County) assumed the gavel in the November conference (2016) and 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 and develop their reports, then the reports would reports would be presented to the directors, who would then approve or alter the recommendations received. This concept required the nine permanent committees and two temporary committees to be present and active to get goals accomplished.
President Purdy announced that his goals for this term were to get all 95 county directors, plus 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 wanted to achieve full state funding for a fulltime county director in every county and to permanently include this in state law and institutionalize annual funding in the state budget. He said he wanted to de-link the EMPG (FEMA emergency management program grant) program from funding local salaries and 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 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 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 threatening Pigeon Forge. LEMD John Mathews did a tremendous job with very little staff, but they were overwhelmed with the magnitude of the disaster. With no adequate communications support and with a lack of preparation by federal authorities (National Park Service, 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 led to EMAT sponsorship of an IMT/EMST program and the creation of three IMT’s in Tennessee to respond to future emergencies. Although John was named vice mayor of Sevierville, he decided to accept a higher paying position in 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 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, started the push for 100% of county EMPG membership although funding to support this many new counties was not available in TEMA, persuaded FEMA Director Brock Long to appear at the conference as the principal speaker with the assistance of TEMA director Patrick Sheehan, achieved a budget that saw the conference supporting itself, attained a new high of 346 attendees at the conference, started a training plan for regional training with the IMT/EMST program and a helped build preliminary teams in each of three regions (Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Sevierville), relocated existing EMAT records, obtained some furniture and placed various plaques on the wall, created the EMAT President’s Roll of Honor Plaque, developed a protocol for presentation of EMAT awards and a plan for CEMP recipients’ photos, utilized an EMAT PIO to distribute award information to the media, carried out the new EMAT Service Award for current directors, announced a theme for the conference and submitted early invitations to vendors achieving a high of 23 vendors, prepared a “Pass the Gavel” process for incoming presidents, 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 did decide that using TCSA’s executive director as our own would be a good alternative.
On December 16, 2016 President Mac Purdy opened the Executive Board at TEMA to discuss his vision for EMAT and the board. He discussed the 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 approval of actions taken rather than performing the work.
Vice President Jim Tanner brought a complaint 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 since he had not pre-registered, 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 when he complained and asked for reimbursement. He also complained that he was not publicly presented his CEMP at the conference although he was approved during the year. He was not on the list of directors with over 15 years of service for a service award, either. 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 next year’s conference to provide instructions to TCSA for next year’s conference. A proposal was made to redirect the conference to Gatlinburg to support Sevier County and former EMAT president and LEMA John Mathews. President Purdy suggested that a call be made to John to ask if Sevier County would agree to host the conference in 2017.
(NOTE: Secretary Donnie Smith volunteered to call John, and he enthusiastically agreed to accept the conference for the county.)
President Purdy stated that the plans for the 2018 conference were also in progress and needed to be reviewed.
He said the Association 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. The program would improve recruitment of high-quality persons by eliminating the memberships for them while they participate during college. The proposal was initially suggested by Rutherford County EMA director T. K. Kast, who already had an intern and said he would 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 are 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 labor codes was also needed to ensure that federal 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 Rutherford County EMA Director T. K. Kast and Secretary Donnie Smith. Secretary Smith and Director Kast were to determine the appropriate implementation of this idea and 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 un-schooled and sometimes uncommitted interns.
President Purdy announced that he plans to create a Higher Education Committee that will focus on training of individuals in the education sector. He wants to create a Private Sector Committee for the purpose of pursuing a closer relationship with businesses and corporations. He also plans 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 on a discussion led by Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves which recommended a change in focus for 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 teams would be qualified personnel who would be already trained for their job and who would report to the mayor or director of the county suffering the disaster. He said that his concept is that the request for the teams would be made in advance of the emergency so that the teams could automatically deploy upon notice of the declaration. If done in this manner, this would not be a self-deployed unsponsored event, but a pre-approved deployment. There was no motion for the idea, however, due to the size and cost of the program and the need for a state-wide team (similar to an EMAC A-team) to be available to coordinate deployment, logistics and financing.
President Purdy said that an EMAT board member who plans to attend other conferences should notify the president of EMAT and receive the blessing of the board as a formal representative of EMAT. 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: 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, CTAS, UT, and Carol Engroff, Finance Specialist, CTAS, UT.
President Purdy apologized for the late notification of 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. 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 period and a new suitable date must be found.
A discussion ensued regarding next year’s conference contract (President Purdy called it an RFP, a Request for Purchase, which is state finance terminology) 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 recommend an alternate location in Pigeon Forge. He said there could be an issue (a problem) with the host EMA serving as conference chairman (that is, John Mathews wanted the conference, but did not want to be the chairman). 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) team for 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 he wanted to pilot an intern training project for emergency management outreach. Director Kast said he already has an intern from MTSU and asked for support from EMAT. 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 cost of EMAT membership for interns in this program. The discussion centered around the Department of Labor and IRS rules for using interns and the extra supervision required. Board members were cool to the idea, but they did not oppose it. President Purdy, who himself began his emergency management career as an intern, said a decision would need to be made on subjects for intern training, and he placed its development with 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 active since the committees would all be meeting at roughly the same time. It also assumes that space could be found for the 9 permanent committees and 2 temporary committees to meet concurrently. (It also would require the chairmen to be more proactive.) 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. President Purdy requested that any new assistant selected by the committee chairs be submitted to him for 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 the phone-in meeting to include the Treasurer and Secretary reports and the previous month’s minutes were not approved by the board, this business was scheduled to be presented next month for review by the board and future approval.
On April 27, 2017 President Mac Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the State EOC at TEMA. He asked for reports from the Treasurer, Secretary and regional vice presidents and asked for the board to approve these and the minutes from the previous two 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 for which there was no new information. The Treasurer, Jody Zorsch, reported a shortfall in the conference budget, and President Purdy stated 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 are 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 as to why. (Editor’s note: Some of the difference is due to the failure to count the honorary members, about 20 or more. This issue has been brought up several times.)
STC (Standards, Training and CEMP) Chairman Jonathan Pressnell requested approval of EM2 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 it was funded by the Governor’s Budget (according to the Deputy Governor), an annual amount of $25,000.
President Purdy said the Higher Education Committee has prioritized training requirements for new emergency management tasked personnel in just 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 report 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 and the fact that federal law prohibits replacing a job position with an unpaid intern. After a lengthy debate, it was decided to request more study to be done.
President Purdy announced that his goals for this term is to get all 95 county directors, plus one stakeholder from each county, in the membership of the association; achieve vendor growth; work on training content in the conference, developing 10 or more breakouts for attendees to select from; and to update the strategic plan to include 3-5 years out for geographic locations for the conference. He said he wants to focus on a joint training conference with topics on search and rescue/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 and an invitation for other association representation at the EMAT conference, in effect establishing a joint preparedness summit. He stated that he wants to update the CEMP/CEM certificate and the background requirements and issued a challenge to all 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 and institutionalize 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 Mac Purdy, called the Board of Directors to order in the Waverly Room of the State EOC in Nashville. He asked for reports from the Treasurer, the Secretary and the regional vice-presidents 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 $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 in order to help meet the higher expenses encountered.
Vice President-West Johny Farris discussed the West Tennessee LEPC conference, and then President Purdy gave a telephonic report on the EMAT conference, saying that most of the areas are ready to go, except for the main speaker. 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 of 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 reported that service awards for local county directors were being reviewed and that information regarding new directors should be collected for the purposes of this award. 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 will fulfill the requirements of fiscal security under IRS rules for 501(c)(3).
Chairman Ricky Graves of the Legislative Committee reported that since the first 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. 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 Mac 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.
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), 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 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 will present in the EMAT/TEMA conference.
President Mac 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 since the letter has not been sent and Donnie Smith (member of the Awards & Nominations Committee) recommended that August 15 be the new deadline. President-Elect Brian Gard will follow up on 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 developments for the conference is that the conference site is the Sevierville [Wilderness Resort on 11-13 September 2017], and he said that a dynamic speaker from the national level is being sought 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 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 (8 coalition members). He believes this will bring on 30-50 more persons to attend who would be paid by Department of Health. He wants to increase the number of partners, vendors and sponsors. He also said he is inviting APCO’s board to the conference, some 4-6 people.
President Purdy said there must be a change in the financial management of the conference in order to stay within the budget. He said that rules must be placed to improve the control of rooms, starting with the two “comp” rooms per county. He believes this should be retained for the county director to use, but those rooms beyond the two that are “free” should be paid for by the county or the individual. To tighten up on costs so as to prevent significant 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 would 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 this year. He will work with TEMA Chief of Staff Melisa Hucks to identify what 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 taken this as an issue and has determined there are fewer than 20 who would be recognized. She 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 our by-laws, a summary of our board organization and recent actions and a summary of the benefits and values of belonging to the Association all 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” committee and not just be (sic) in the “charge” of (or 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 receiving his 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 Mac Purdy called the Board of Directors to order in the Boatwright Room of the State EOC in Nashville. Some of the conversation in the Finance, Ways & Means Committee meeting chaired by the President needed to be in the minutes, so the inclusion of parts of this meeting was approved as a motion.
Secretary Donnie 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 attend, although he will arrive late due to having been 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 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.
Jody Zorsch, Treasurer, reiterated that she cannot give a current and accurate update on the status of the conference (and 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 occurred and an on-line demonstration from TCSA showed that the expiration date will show 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 is seeking to persuade 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 the counties just two free rooms for lodging and not allowing other unused rooms to be picked up by counties sending more than two persons to the conference. 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 an emergency) most people would leave a shelter as soon as possible and would not remain overnight, so reception centers would be established to screen, treat as needed and perhaps feed persons who come by and prepare to release them. This would eliminate the need for the otherwise large number of shelters normally required.
President Purdy led the discussion on the Conference Committee report. He postponed the update on vendors, saying that there are more coming. 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 some of the speakers at the conference include Dr. Macel Eli from TGEI (University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service) and Ronald Hooper, Tennessee Highway Patrol communications. He said there would be 10 breakout rooms, and the conference would grant 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 be a presentation on the swimming hole rescue at Cummins Falls (Cookeville). He plans to 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 speakers’ 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 be introduced to key persons.
He announced that some of the support staff for the conference 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 that he intends to appoint Tim Harvey (Williamson County Operations) as the Conference Committee chairman to backfill John Mathews. Brian Gard, incoming President, has also been appointed to the committee.
He said he intended to change the conference page on the web site the day after this 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 James 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, and he didn’t think any others were needed.
President Purdy discussed his intention to buy and present to former presidents of the association a lanyard for wear at the conference (of a different color than other registered members) to distinguish them from current members. The board determined that no additional powers were needed to make this purchase, but it approved the funds for the purchase to ensure that there is a clear authority for this 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 recently appointed Assistant Mayor). His appointment did not change his plans to leave county service for private employment.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves discussed whether there may be a need for a fine for people who continually drive into high water and require rescue. No motion came forward, and the issue was not further discussed.
Standards, Training and CEMP (STC) Committee Chairman Jonathan 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 Director Pat Sheehan had informed him that due to some recent misfortunes with hotel contracts, TEMA and other departments would no longer be allowed to execute their own contracts any longer. Request for contracts would 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 that an applicant had signed, it being 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 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), and no motion was forthcoming.
Higher Education Committee member Brian Gard reported on behalf of the committee that there is additional work required to identify the instructors of the three breakouts planned for the conference.
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.
President Purdy announced that the next regular meeting will be on the fourth Thursday of October at the SEOC in Nashville. A special meeting of the board will be held at 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 10,2017 at the Wilderness Inn in Sevier County.
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 a 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 rather than another type of special team being built within the state to augment a county director’s Emergency Operations Center during a crisis. The other team, called an EMST (Emergency Management Support Team) would conceivably work for the mayor of the county with the disaster. The IMT would typically be built with fire operations specialists (firemen) while EMST’s (built mostly of other county directors) would tend to provide a wider range of specialties and support, including logistics management, strategic team deployment and management, rescue, volunteer integration, law enforcement strike team management and other specialties. A lengthy discussion ensued regarding IMT training and a meeting to be held regarding the effort which would include TEMA, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Fire Chiefs Association President, EMAT and APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications). Although at this time premature for announcement, this training could be the centerpiece for the conference if all board members agree. There is a great deal of private interest in the proposal, to include former Attorney General and Judge Paul Summers who has inquired with the EMAT Secretary to attend the EMAT conference in order to obtain more information regarding the concept and to provide his support.
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 planned 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 will likely interfere with TEMA members attending the conference as well as reduce some participating local directors, responders and other EMAT members. Some dates were proposed, but the most favorable to all appeared to be 29-31 January 2018 (a month into the next year). Failure to have the conference at all would cost the association a penalty to be paid to the contracted hotel.
Chairman Purdy announced that there are now 405 members in the Emergency Management Association of Tennessee.
Chairman Purdy incorporated some actions and discussions from a 9:45 meeting of the Conference Committee regarding the “2017 Conference.” Tim Harvey (Williamson County EMA) was appointed as Conference Chairman (Tim 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 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 temporarily perform most of the duties due to the magnitude of this conference committee’s work and the newness of Tim to the job. Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) and Mike Harris (TEMA) were announced as having submitted for renewal of their CEMP.
Chairman Purdy said that he intends to invite 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 the 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 in order to get presenters for the Higher Education breakouts at the conference.
Historical Committee Chairman John Riley reported that he was continuing efforts in obtaining certifiable 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 covered by a new card. It was also 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 Jim Tanner (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 cannot be adequately contracted 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 but said he will wait for a quorum 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.
Chairman Tanner discussed the difficulties of transition from one chairman to a newly appointed chairman immediately prior to a conference. He confirmed 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 Brian Gard (and member of the Higher Education Committee) reported that work is continuing on obtaining presenters for the conference.
Chairman John 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 Mac 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 Donnie Smith provided the minutes of the September and October meetings by e-mail, noting that two meetings in a row 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. The board approved the previous minutes for September and October.
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 get access to digital reports at 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.
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 new 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 29-31 January 2018 since the previous conference was delayed due to the Gatlinburg area fire. He announced the conference duty assignments at 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 not an invoice, so many county finance directors will not pay a reimbursement for it. 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) Jim 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 extended 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 as well as the Emergency Management Support Teams concept. He discussed the attendance of 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 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 Mac 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 Melisa Hucks of TEMA and Executive Director David Connor of TCSA. A quorum was present, and business was conducted.
2018 - 2019
(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, 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. The chairmen should select the members of their committee and report them to the president. He encouraged each committee chairman to have goals, progress and meeting dates at least quarterly and to report these to the board. He said when there is a conflict with a holiday, the board meeting date will be bumped to the next Thursday. He said he plans to update the Five- Year Plan.
He announced a priority change for the association to pursue improvement of the professionalism of emergency management in the state, improve the membership base and diversity, be an advocate for emergency preparedness initiatives, and 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 committee should focus on the core tasks.
President Gard said he believes the EMAT mission is all inclusive and intended 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 association 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, but the staff eventually had to support two separate conferences annually which could not effectively be merged. The inability to merge the conferences caused strain for several reasons, the most problematic being the associations each wanted to meet in various places throughout the state and most hotels could not 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 Brian Gard (Knox County-UTK OEM) called for the Treasurer’s Report and was told we had $130,000 in the bank. He discussed the salary survey and recognized the sensitivity in the varying amounts across the counties.
President Gard presented a bombshell announcement that TCSA had requested to terminate its joint relationship with EMAT. The separation was requested principally 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 the dramatically increased workload on the staff. A discussion centered on the impact of this break on the business of the association led to the realization that EMAT must adjust to the change, but perhaps not immediately. TCSA director, David Conner, gave the association until the end of the year to totally separate its operations and declared his support until the transition was made. President Gard said web site administration would require a lot of effort, but the loss of the TCSA director salary stipend would free $15,000 to help support other fulltime staff. The most significant problems included handling the membership, managing legislative information and maintaining a good public image, not to mention the requirement for legwork on all 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 companies to ask vendors to attend the conference. President Gard said he is working on a proposal for the 2020 conference and said he was focusing on September 21-23.
TEMA Chief of Staff Melisa Hucks asked about the progress on the completion of topics for the agenda for this year’s conference. She said there is work on linking training by EMAT and 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) are registered for the conference.
President Gard said this year’s budget expense is $183,750 with $184,100 income. In order to ensure a balanced budget for the conference, training had to be trimmed down.
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. 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 working with the activities of the board. Asked why this ever changed, he said the choice appears to have been made by the agencies who had too little business in the emergency management area or interest in the emergency management meetings. Secretary and 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 on hand for the years 1994 to 2016. The work will continue integrating any new-found material into the summary, probably completing the years 2016 to 2019. 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 June and said one of his long-range goals is to establish a funding stream for emergency management through the state budget.
Chairman Joe Cooper of the Membership and Outreach Committee reported the membership number as 521 persons, including nearly 100 TEMA members and 86 expired memberships which may be renewed. There are two changes of import for emergency managers, a new director of emergency management in Williamson County, Todd Horton, and a new Safety Director in Rutherford County (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 could also be supported or supplemented with EMAT funds, he said, assuming the budget can be developed and approved.
President Gard said he addressed the Chiefs of Police Association and it proved to be a tough audience. He said he wants to keep looking for ideas and appropriate job descriptions, focusing on improving the quality of new emergency management directors through training by appropriate steps.
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 wanted to continue the effort on EMST’s (Emergency Management Support Teams) which would support the local emergency operations center and which would be emergency-management heavy, often drawing in other county directors to obtain expertise.
President Gard then introduced TEMA Director Patrick 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 finished its audit by the State Comptroller (Sunset Audit), and the largest issue was training and 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 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 to receive a briefing on ideas to improve the association and support of emergency management. This meeting is to help support information gathering and idea collection previously requested by STC (Standards, Training and CEMP) Committee.
On July 10, 2019 President Brian Gard called the Board of Directors to order with a report from President-Elect Jim Tanner on IMT/EMST (EMST (incident management teams/emergency management support teams) identifying the contractor, Geoff Williford and discussing the covering governance, credentialing and assignments. Most of the focus was on IMT’s since the team has not yet addressed EMST’s very closely. He said the team is catching up after several emergencies and a state activation for flooding. He said the IMT elements will be in Shelby County, Murfreesboro and Knoxville.
President Gard then introduced TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan, who said that TEMA is involved in a lot of training currently and that he expects to continue that heavy training due to a great deal of anticipated local EM director turnover. He said the biggest item in the Sunset Audit accomplished by the State Comptroller was the lack of an update of BEOP’s (basic emergency operations plan) or a copy of the approved county plan not being on file with TEMA as required by the TEMP (Tennessee Emergency Management Plan). He said that his visits to counties had been interrupted by the latest flood emergencies, but they would be picked up again. He said the FIST (FEMA Incident Support Team) team in Tennessee is the second one in the nation. He said emergency planning zones will be reduced in size soon, and that nuclear (response) development is still leading in Tennessee. 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 intends to attempt (again) to re-create a listing of resources found in the cities and counties so they can more easily be found.
President Gard then called for issues in the minutes and two were presented, a correction on the roll call and a name change for Paul 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, but it was tabled for further review. The discussion led to talk about a new TEMA award which is similar to the EMAT Achievement Award. The award was intended to honor Bill Worth (who passed away) with the first presentation 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 Snap reported on award forms placed on the web site and indicated that the Awards and Nominations Committee is continuing to work on a proposal to change the name of some of the awards. She said the committee’s plan is to present it to the membership for approval. The discussion then returned to the Bill Worth Award and how it conflicts with the EMAT Achievement Award. She said the award was established by Craig Hanrahan in TEMA and that there is still a possibility of merging the 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), and he said he had made a deposit on a reception planned in the Sun Sphere. He described a problem with the former management of the Sun Sphere when EMAT was charged twice on its credit card for food and that the company had said they would correct the charges. President Gard said the correction never happened and the company went out of business. Now the company cannot be found. President Gard said the number of vendors for the conference has increased to the double digits.
Education Sector Committee Robie Robinson said the committee is focusing on education continuity planning. He said he is looking for a new chairman since Brenna Morse was required by her new supervisor 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 now show an 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 we formally vote on which budget includes the $20,000 to hire part-time support persons to replace the capability lost through the TSCA (Tennessee County Services Association) withdrawal. 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 in two years. There is an intent to build up enough sponsors in that time (with the direct work of the applicant) 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 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 had done most of this work. 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 Brian 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 being part time, 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 and the membership year was identified as ending August 31, so memberships would start on September 1 st. West Tn Vice President said the West Tennessee LEPC conference had 180 attendees and that barbeque was served, and said this is 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. Digital support on Twitter is being handled by 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 in order to guarantee a room for the board members.
Education Sector Committee Chairman Robie (Robbie) Robinson said he has found a new 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 that minutes are not available for the period 1991 to 2006. He asked everyone to focus on this time period and if 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 Patrick 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 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 additional directors. He proposed that requiring additional state funds to go only to counties with full-time directors would encourage those counties without a full-time director to obtain funding, especially if they know this is a recurring annually funded idea. 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, and that 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 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 exam at the conference. He said he believes the CEMP needs some realignment, 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 activations for EMST (Emergency Management Support Team) coordination. He said this representative would take on the EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) role. 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 who the board thought the stakeholders in EMAT would be 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 schools 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 (church volunteers), transportation department emergency personnel, etc.). No action by the board prioritized the list by influence.
President Gard said the next effort would be to interview the applicants for the Administrative Assistant position and announce the new hire.
Editor’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 Patrick 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 Jim 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, but said she still could not identify the deposits, since TCSA has deposited all receipts in their account and has not broken it out. She said there is a tendency for the members who are registering to overpay which requires 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 on-line form for the next conference to show the meals are included in the registration unless an unregistered person (guest) needs a meal ticket.
Awards and Nominations Committee Chairman James Medling said the legislative awards in support of the county directors’ education bill have been obtained and are ready to be presented to the sponsors of that legislation. A nomination was received for John Riley for the Bill Hyder Award, the association’s highest award. This 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. He said he was there to help re-direct the teams to North Carolina, including the large swift water rescue team, and that it had been accomplished 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 Jim 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 this conference as a representative.)
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 Brian Gard began the Board of Directors meeting with recognition of the 911 (or Numbers) Conference in Murfreesboro this month at the Embassy Suites Hotel. He was proud that we had extended. He said EMAT had a vendor booth there with four members in attendance.
President Gard called for a Treasurer’s Report even though Jody was not present, and although the report was e-mailed he said 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 damages) from the recent flooding 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 all counties have plans). He mentioned the Brick Plan for 2018 that provides base line money for this program, but the deadline is December 31 (presumably 2019). He said this is 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 their work with the fires in California. The business that was nominated for award is Accurate Energetic Systems (McEwen, Tennessee) and Ms. Jessie Kelsey will receive the award 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 in his behalf.
Conference Committee Chairman Mike Gregory said there are 299 persons now registered for the upcoming conference and there are 30 or more vendors. He reported that Verizon will be sponsoring a luncheon and hosting a gathering at the Sunsphere on Saturday of the conference. Graphic Creations will manufacture the signs for the conference. He said he intends to unload gear and other conference items at 3 pm on Sunday, October 13.
President-Elect Jim Tanner reported that the only step left in the AHIMT (All- Hazards Incident Management Team) program is governance. (EDITOR’s Note: Governance must be provided by TEMA for the governor or 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: Twenty hours were finally granted).
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 (as 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 is, holding the conference permanently in March).
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 Brian Gard called the full membership 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. 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 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 and promoting progression to CEMP through the lower levels, EM1 and EM2.
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), a team in the Shelby County Office of Emergency Preparedness, a team in Murfreesboro Fire Rescue, and a team in the Sevierville Fire Department, leaving only the governance approval by FEMA as the last step in progressions before they start on EMST (Emergency Management Support Teams) within the state. He spent some time explaining the difference in the two types of teams, the IMT being a response-oriented team that would be sent to (large) disasters mostly outside the state and the EMST being sent to enhance the emergency management EOC (emergency operations center) to manage the (large number of) responders arriving in a county and the very difficult management of the logistics support of the response and assignment of assets based upon available geography in the emergency. The EMST philosophically would be created from more experienced managers (mostly from directors in other counties) who receive advanced training and would respond to larger emergencies mostly inside the state.
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 same city (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 in order to expand communication and public relations and a by-laws change to grant the president additional powers to appoint people to special boards outside the association (when requested). (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, including IAEM, the federal government, or other agencies asking for qualified emergency managers to represent EMAT). He said he intended to ask for approval and get the by-laws changed through an electronic mail vote by the membership.
He said he still has two positions vacant within the Board of Directors that are vacant, 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 the proposals.
On November 7, 2019 President Brian Gard (Knox County UTK Office of Emergency Management) requested the authority to authorize copywriting 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 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).
Chairman Mike Gregory reported that the last conference was a success with a large attendance of the membership (over 250) and over 30 vendors. He said next year’s conference will be held at 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 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 leave early would then be making a conscious decision not to have the opportunity to vote. A change was also suggested to issue training certificates to vendors to 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 included with registration. Another suggestion was to implement fewer break-out sessions to reduce the speaker and equipment requirements (and overhead). 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 provided increased benefits for first responder families. He said the plaques, for Representative Curtis Halford and Senator John Stevens, had been passed to the 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 Jim 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 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 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, membership and cooperation. He said we need to use these visits to “mine for speakers” at our conferences. Secretary Donnie Smith passed out “reasons to belong” recruiting cards for new members that could be used at the booths at these conferences to help with recruiting new members. The new cards were titled “Turning Crises into Just Emergencies” and, on the front, give a pitch about what emergency managers do, and on the back, show 12 of the most obvious reasons to belong to EMAT on the back. 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, 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 announced that he wants to change the by-laws to authorize a Public Information Officer on the board (Hannah Bleam of Williamson County was appointed). He said also that Susan Hall wants to assist 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 just one educational institution to identify with which 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 requirements to meet in order to recognize the award of the hours. Then, 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 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.
This year there is a scheduled election of a new president-elect at the fall conference under the current by-laws. The current president-elect at this time, Jim Tanner of Hickman County, assumes office as president.
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 $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 with material. 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. As requested by the President, Vice President Holley said 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 supporting the responders’ benefits law change. 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 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 Brian Gard called the board to order and invited the 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 not only of 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 Danny Jowers (who is also Mayor of Kenton TN (Gibson County) 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 met with the Governor and spoke of the importance of the emergency manager being available to the governor and gave examples of how this had helped in several other instances. Director Sheehan said 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.
He said there was no truth to any rumors about bringing Homeland Security in under Emergency Management and that he fully 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 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 once a combined emergency medical service and emergency management agency. Secretary Smith said the education effort needs to be strongly maintained by all, 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 (CSU) program that would pay for books of EMAT members who 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 (Public Information Officer), Hannah Bleam (Williamson County PIO), to put the program on-line.
A discussion took place to merge the Bill Hyder Award (which originated in the transition from Civil Defense) and the Bill Worth Award (recently created by TEMA) into a single award and to name it the Bill Worth Award to focus on emergency management. President Gard requested that Vice Chairperson Adrienne Snap coordinate with Craig Hanrahan for the proper verbiage for the award, to ensure the award is presented only for the highest professional service and ensure that only one person annually would be eligible for the award. He said the merger is to prevent duplication of award effort in emergency management and for the Awards & Nominations Committee to 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 the “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 with a check or a bill for 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 Danny 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 or payments for education certification (non-conference income) do not support the conference and that the conference supports itself. He said our policy will be that persons attending the conference 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) in order to provide information on the 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 roughly
$4.3 million. He said there was also a plan for use of any money not utilized 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 members from this community. She said she was 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” (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 said 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 Jim 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 that nominee, TEMA training chief and EMAT member David Nock 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, created damages stretching from Gibson County to Davidson County to Wilson County to Putnam County.
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 email@example.com.