HISTORY OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF TENNESSEE
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Updated: April 27, 2022
EMAT Board of Directors HISTORICAL COMMITTEE:
Daryl Justice, Chairman
Donnie K. Smith, Member
[This history includes information from the minutes of the EMAT Board of Directors and other sources of information, such as financial documents, conference agendas and news stories, and occasionally (when records are not available) the memory of various long-time emergency management personalities, including TEMA directors Jim Bassham and Patrick Sheehan (which will be stated). Any inferences, conclusions or explanations can be attributed to the author.
The vision of the Historical Committee is to reduce all available material to make the history easier to read. A continuous editing process is overseen by Chairman Daryl Justice and member/author Donnie K. Smith.
Acronyms are defined in the glossary of acronyms at the end of this summary (to shorten the paragraphs, and to shorten the text we have ignored the rule to identify the acronym in its first use, so you must go to the glossary for definitions). The name of the officers of the association are mentioned in full at the beginning of each year and usually the title and last name are used for any further repetitions until the next year. Some elements from the minutes have been deleted in the summarization while historical material may have been added for clarity or to fill a missing section.]
The minutes we have on file are available in various forms, digital and paper. The originals may be seen by any member who requesting them from the webmaster, Maureen Culberson, or whoever speaks to Chairman Justice for more instructions.
Within Tennessee, the newly created Tennessee Civil Defense Agency (1958) was hard at work in its headquarters office, located in Room 315 of the Cordell Hull Building during the dangerous Cold War period. Based on direction and guidance from the FCDA, the TCDA (Civil Defense) set out to develop massive evacuation plans for the major population centers in the state in event of nuclear emergency, including Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Tri-Cities, and ALKOR (Knoxville-Alcoa). The Governor adopted the policy that TCDA should be the central coordination point for all civil defense actions following an attack and gave TCDA the authority to coordinate all the other state agencies' activities during such periods.
The culmination of this effort led to the publishing in 1958 of the state's first major planning document related to civil defense. Called the Tennessee Operational Survivability Plan, the 10-volume document laid out how the state would respond to a nuclear attack in excruciating detail. No one could read it due to its size. The plan called for each of the population centers to be designated a Civil Defense Operational Area, each with its own command structure. The Governor and the Civil Defense staff were to be relocated to a facility outside of Tullahoma, Tennessee, and an alternate state Capitol was to be established at the old Ovoca Children's School in the same general area. The plan describes vehicle loads for anticipated evacuation routes, contains letters of coordination for the use of counties in adjoining states, and even details specific guidance on how resources were to be allocated to individual counties through the CDOA organizational structure.
More changes at the Federal level led to emergency preparedness programs being transferred to a newly created Office of Emergency Planning (OEP), which became responsible for all civilian emergency preparedness activities, including resource utilization, disaster relief, economic stabilization, post-attack rehabilitation, and continuity of government functions. In 1968, this office was renamed the Office of Emergency Preparedness.
In August of 1966, the Tennessee Civil Defense Agency promulgated the Tennessee Plan for the Management of Resources. This plan was designed to formalize how critical resources would be managed by the federal, state and local government following a nuclear attack. Planning became the key mission for the agency since no one else had the time to perform this function and this requirement was built into the law.
In 1967, the TCDA moved into its new emergency operations center, located at the Clement-Nunally Armory in south Nashville. This facility, housed on what is now called Houston Barracks, is the headquarters of the Tennessee Military Department, and the existing successor agency to TCDA, TEMA still operates from there today in the old bomb shelter, but in totally renovated facilities.
The 1970s saw a dramatic rise in the number of emergencies and disasters that affected the country's states and localities. The increasing presence of hazardous materials in local communities and in the “transportation corridors” led to serious hazmat incidents. Chief among them was the bromine release in Rockwood, TN, in 1977 and the LPG explosion in Waverly, Tennessee, in February of 1978 which tragically killed 16 first responders and citizens immediately and injured at least 97, although the number continued to increase due to unreported injuries. The years 1973-1975 saw a dramatic increase in severe weather damages, especially in 1974, where hundreds of people were killed in a series of violent tornado outbreaks across the Midwest.
Governor Ray Blanton issued an executive order in 1975 designating the Tennessee Office of Civil Defense as the lead agency for coordinating the state's response to all disasters and emergencies that affected the state or its citizens. After the Waverly propane disaster, the agency was designated as the only agency that was allowed to train and validate hazardous materials technicians and specialists and the teams they formed in the state of Tennessee.
The Bhopal (India) and Waverly incidents served to inspire a sweeping array of new laws and new guidelines to “correct” the problem (TEMA HAZMAT Ops Guide, p. 3) of lax federal and state chemical protection laws. Everyone began to discuss emergency management as the focus of preparedness, rather than “civil defense.” From this transition, TEMA and EMAT were both born essentially to meet the new threats. The New Madrid fault was also identified as the scariest threat to a seven-state area.
TCDA President Charlie Barnhart (Carroll County) became the first de facto EMAT president although he was never elected to the new post. He faced much reluctance in changing the system, so his leadership was critical in converting civil defense to emergency management. He determined that the only way he could ensure its transition to the new concept was to remain in office as the civil defense association changed. President Barnhart could not attend the September 1985 meeting because of the death of his father, but his influence put Bob Diehl in place to update the Constitution’s by-laws in time for a vote in February. In the business session, it was pointed out that the TCDA 20-year charter had expired in March 1983, so steps were taken to obtain a new charter with a new name, "EMAT," replacing TCDA.
Tennessee, perhaps reluctantly, due to the tremendous change involved, with Lacy Suiter as the leader at TEMA and later at FEMA, propelled the state government, and then the federal government towards all-hazards and integrated emergency management. Programs were developed to assist local governments in developing emergency management plans and capabilities. This included a full-blown training program and the development of the first, truly integrated emergency plan for the state. In Tennessee, this plan was known as the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan, or TEMP. The 1986 document became the basis for all emergency management plans and programs within the state and this remains the case today.
1985 - Creation of EMAT
After the many emergencies in the state and with the national agenda moving away from Civil Defense, the new concepts encouraged the Tennessee Civil Defense Association to formally change its name to the Emergency Management Association of Tennessee. The decision to do so was made in a meeting on August 6, 1985 chaired by TCDA President Joan Blair of Blount County. EMAT came into being after its corporate charter was recognized by the state on August 23, 1985.
An early meeting was held by the TCDA (although it technically was both organizations meeting as one) in the State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville on September 23, 1985, by incoming officers to transfer the financial torch and take care of other items of transition business, but terms for the new association's officers began on October 1, 1985.
October 1, 1985
The Tennessee Civil Defense Association transferred its business, finances, officers and processes into the new organization, lock, stock and barrel. The first officers of EMAT were President Charlie Barnhart of Carroll County, who had transitioned from president of TCDA. John Collins of Jefferson County became Vice-President in the new organization, but the rule to succeed the president did not apply to him in EMAT. The new organization needed new energy, new money and a new focus. Membership was down to 41 active members, and the TCDA newsletter was suspended. Man-caused and natural events were beginning to happen that demanded emergency management and response funding from either federal, state or local agencies, and the money began to come from the federal government first.
Director Lacy Suiter of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency laid the foundation for the organization of most county emergency management agencies in Tennessee. His vast experience and inclusiveness helped to mold the emergency management community into a common team. His leadership helped establish in Tennessee what is arguably the strongest emergency management law in the nation (TCA 58-2-101, et.al.), and it is still in effect.
A farewell memorandum from President Barnhart to all local directors on November 8, 1985, recognized "some problems" between TEMA and EMAT, but he said he was sure these would be worked out and that a "great year" was ahead of the association. He thanked everyone for allowing him to serve as president and pushed for more members in the new association.
[The period of service in EMAT office varied over the years from calendar year to federal fiscal year to state fiscal year and back. However, the period in office practically ran from the annual conference until the next conference at the end of the allowed term of office (usually in September or October) since the new president nearly always took charge on the awards day luncheon or the night banquet. The other officers mirrored the President. The period of service for the first 15 years or so was only for one year as president, then in 1987 all officers were prevented from succeeding themselves. By 2015 it was realized that a president in only a year could not implement the many changes needed and delaying progress, so the term in office was extended to 2 years to allow a longer time to establish successful programs, and if re-elected by the membership or re-appointed, officers could succeed themselves an unlimited number of terms.]
The earliest official minutes on hand record the meeting of the Executive Council of EMAT on January 31, 1986. President Charles Barnhardt (Carroll County) proudly announced the “long wanted” presence of TEMA officials at the executive council meeting (being held in Memphis, Tennessee). He took a moment to review what he considered to be a seminal meeting of the executive committee at the home of Lacy Suiter in Nashville (on November 23, 1985) where the charter of the new EMAT was written and renewed and where a key issue for the council was resolved, the popular Mike Caudill, an area coordinator of TEMA, was formally returned to West Tennessee.
The association proposed a bill written by the TCSA to establish the Rural Fire Protection Loan Act fund of $10 million to be drawn on by counties to improve the level of fire protection and to reduce the premium rate on fire insurance. The loan would be re-paid to the state by insurance companies with monies saved from the reduction of the premium. This was referred to the Legislative Committee for further work, but was never enacted.
A membership roster was distributed where it was shown that one new member had been added: Charles Bryant (Greeneville-Green County EMA), who became Deputy Director of Recovery at TEMA.
President Barnhart noted that some of the committee chairmen on the council were not members of EMAT, and they must correct this “problem” or he would have to make "the necessary changes."
The first EMAT constitution and bylaws had been adopted from the old TCDA charter by substituting EMAT over TCDA and changing "civil defense" to "emergency management." Bob Diehl was the Vice President and chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee, and he added lifetime memberships although qualification for these recognitions have since been changed, originally enacted for persons who remained a member for 15 years.
In May 1986, Legislative Committee Chairman Alan Hall (Montgomery County EMA) sent a letter to the members of the EMAT Legislative Committee to propose a million and a half dollar state grant program (actual $1,451,799.50) to be available to match federal programs in order to bring the state’s programs back to 1984 levels. The effect would be to restore a spending level of nearly $4 million for emergency management, the actual loss the federal Hollings-Graham-Rudman bill would impose.
On August 12, 1986 President Barnhardt called the executive council meeting to order just prior to the first day of an EMAT conference in Knoxville. This meeting saw the creation of the “Bill Hyder Award," an award intended to recognize the highest service in emergency management. Cecil Whaley of TEMA remembered that Bill Hyder was Civil Defense director in Cumberland County and was responsible for developing the concept of the executive council for the new association. According to Kelly Zadaukus, Bill was best known for his “fish fries.” There is no written
substantiation for this period. At this conference Alan Hall was nominated as President-Elect.
On the second day of the conference, the constitution and by-laws for the new EMAT were covered by Area II Vice President Bob Diehl and approved after a motion by Ken Fritts (Anderson County, who later retired from TEMA as an area coordinator). It was accepted 33-0 by the members present. Ed Ellington (Haywood County EMA), Chairman of the Training and Education Committee said there were quite a few concerns about field training and that a schedule of training courses was being developed. Membership Chairman Dan Vaughn (Madison County EMA) expressed the need for more members since there were only 48 active members and 123 associate members. Don Goad, chairman of the Awards and Recognition Committee announced that Bobby Shoffner (Knox County) was the winner of the membership drive.
Don Allen, who was a nationally known emergency manager from Tennessee, (Hamilton County EMA and elected President of Region IV, NCCEM) addressed the conference and spoke of improving the professionalism of emergency management. He asked for a motion to establish a committee to set standards for emergency managers, but his comments created a tremendous floor discussion. This was in part due to his introduction of an idea about the legislature setting salaries at the local level. Before the discussion became physical, he withdrew the request.
President Barnhart restated the names of the officers that had been nominated for office in the coming administration, Alan Hall as President-Elect (since John Collins had not been elected); Steve Street (Hamblen County) for Vice President-Region I (East Tennessee); Don Allen for Vice President-Region II (Middle Tennessee Lower); Mike Thompson (Williamson County) for Vice President-Region III (Middle Tennessee Upper); Trisha Bradley (Tipton County EMA) for Vice President-Region IV (West Tennessee); and Mike Bass, Secretary-Treasurer (elected at large).
On October 1, 1986 President James Gurley (Memphis EMA), who was elected to succeed Charlie Barnhart, opened the Executive Council meeting and asked Don Allen to relate his evolving work with NCCEM. President Gurley then expressed his support, dedication and active participation in the efforts of NCCEM.
On March 19, 1987, the executive council convened under President Gurley who reported that the ending balance of the association's bank account in 1986 was $1, 929.20. He announced that the attempt to increase emergency management funding at the state level had been put on hold until the following year since no legislators would support the concept.
In April 1987, a letter was sent to “colleagues” in the state by President-Elect Alan Hall (Clarksville EMA) to point out the recent FEMA request for $20 million for nuclear attack preparedness had been submitted to Congress, and more importantly, that there was a lack of any funding for FEMA’s civil defense initiatives at the local level. The letter encouraged opinions to go to Senator Albert Gore in Washington, DC for support to change this omission and reinstate the money for the new emergency management field.
The president also announced a store of EMAT merchandise available for purchase by members (and to promote the association), such as orange emergency jackets, hats, and cups. Everyone was encouraged to be aware that these items were available for promoting the association.
The State and Local Training Advisory Committee was established, and the intention was expressed to make it a standing committee. The president said he wanted to fill this committee with IEMS (Integrated Emergency Medical Services) supporters and have it meet regularly with TEMA. Jim Miller (Hendersonville City Emergency Management) was challenged to take the required steps to make the committee permanent, and he became its ex-officio leader.
President Gurley thought that EMAT needed to “put on” its own conference (presumably separate from the IEMS) to strengthen its appeal (subject matter and membership) and increase the participation. It appears that neither federal nor state money was available to support attending the national conference for emergency management due to its “de-linking” from the civil defense. The president said EMAT needed a (conference) site, activities, a day and a half meeting period, and a proposed date, and asked members to provide suggestions.
Tennessee at that time was the only state that hadn’t received certification from NCCEM, so President Gurley pressed for a motion to make this happen in this meeting. Strangely, he announced a President’s Award for any state employee who was willing to help EMAT (apparently to achieve certification). There was no record he ever got anyone and the membership didn’t help by volunteering.
On September 10, 1987, President Gurley convened the executive council and received an acceptable audit report of the books,. The floor was yielded by Membership Chairman Hal Munck (Bradley County) to President-Elect Alan Hall who proposed a plan to lower the membership fees from $30 to $20 to gain new members. That was passed. Training and Education Committee Chairman Mike Thompson reported that his committee was working with TEMA to prepare a training program for new directors. Also, after another idea was proposed to raise money for the struggling association, a special subcommittee was set up to determine the feasibility of a contract for a "for-profit" newsletter with ads.
Chairman Paul Hicks announced that President Jim Gurley was the winner of the membership drive. Membership had become a serious concern to the early EMAT organization since it still had only a few over one hundred members by the second year of existence, and most of these were carry-overs from the civil defense. The membership drive first prize was to be a $600 trip to the Bahamas for two. This was serious money at the time and the second prize was $100 in cash, the third prize being $50. Getting the money was as much a challenge as getting the new members. Although the motion carried, there was some opposition to it from the smaller counties who felt they could not beat the larger ones. President Gurley turned a check over to President-Elect Hall to apply to the conference reception at the following year's meeting.
Credentials and Nominating Committee Chairman Dan Vaughn announced his resignation to seek a political office in his home county, Madison County. Jerrell Reasons then reported that the only nominations that had been made for association offices were for Dan Vaughn (President-Elect) and Houston Thrasher (Vice President), so the nomination would have to come from the floor (the nominee had resigned).
Incoming President Alan T. Hall requested Gloria Bryant as the Secretary-Treasurer and the membership unanimously approved.
President Gurley proceeded with the election of officers. The membership from the floor voted for Mike Thompson as President-Elect, Houston Thrasher for West Tennessee Vice President, Keith Garrison for Upper Middle Tennessee Vice President, John Parsons for Lower Middle Tennessee Vice President, and Paul Hicks for East Tennessee Vice President.
As part of the effort to attract new members, the discussion turned to finally creating a quarterly technical newsletter. After a great deal of talk and discussion of alternatives, a motion authorized the president to enter a contract on behalf of the association to create the newsletter.
President-Elect Alan Hall asked for and received the approval of a motion to allow the association's bank account to remain in Memphis, and as of August 31, 1987, an audit showed the association's balance on hand was $3,509.10. Over a period of two years, membership fees had brought in a little over $3,900, but high printing costs took up a third of the budget. Nevertheless, this was a significant advance over the beginning months.
On October 9, 1987, a letter was sent from the incoming president (as director of the Clarksville/Montgomery County EMA), announcing a membership drive with a prize for the person with the newest members to receive a trip for two to the Bahamas (not to exceed $600). These prizes were to be awarded by the conference in 1987.
On October 27, 1987, President Hall introduced changes to the constitution and by-laws, including a nominating committee to be appointed by the president to develop a slate of officers to be considered by the membership. There was also a provision that prevented an officer from being elected to the same office for more than two times. Although there was a trend toward announcing for office, no requirement was found in the by-laws for any person to announce he (or she) would run for office.
On November 4, 1987, President Hall called the executive council to order at the Clarksville, TN Ramada Inn as they prepared to start the conference. Three changes were proposed to be made to the policy to become by-laws. These included duties for the Secretary/ Treasurer to be required to undergo an audit at the end of the president’s term, secondly, a line was added to the mission of EMAT to include protecting lives and property of all persons against enemy attack, technical disasters, and natural disasters, and thirdly, a change was introduced to require vice presidents to be elected from each of the state’s four regions (but oddly that they would each be elected at-large, not from the particular region). It also provided that the president-elect would become president at the end of the term and the new president-elect would be elected at-large. This unique provision became institutionalized in the association.
President Hall introduced Mr. Bob Parker (BHR company) to discuss the advantages of newsletter publication. At the end of this presentation, BHR proposed, like a business contract, to solicit ads and publish the newsletter. A motion was passed to sign a contract with BHR, and President Hall was made editor of the paper. Hal Munck was appointed by the President as Chairman of the Newsletter Committee, and President Hall charged the vice presidents to assist him in obtaining articles. A deadline of January 15, 1987 was set, although it is obvious the date was intended to be January 15, 1988. A motion was passed to include in the newsletter an initial mailing to all chief executives, delegate EMAT members, fire chiefs, rescue squad chiefs, police chiefs, EMA directors, EMS directors, TEMA staff, chief officers, and staff of TML (Tennessee Municipal League), chief officers and staff of TCSA (Tennessee County Services Association), state commissioners, state legislators, the Governor and staff, Sheriffs’ Association, the U.S. Representatives and Senators of the state, and state legislators. The motion established a lengthy mailing list. A motion was then passed to name the newsletter the “EMAT Journal.” A quarterly calendar and calendar of events were discussed, but in the interest of caution (or economy), no motions resulted. The first printing and mailing would be expensive.
President Hall asked each vice president to select an EOC (emergency operations center) in their region and then invite their elected representative to visit their EOC to participate in the proceedings of the EOC on that day. “Tornado Awareness Week” was selected as a good time to do this. This idea brought the EMAT inside the workings of each county emergency management agency and bonded them together.
Hal Munck, Newsletter Committee chairman, reported on TV public service commercials (sic) and distributed various information and pamphlets from State Farm Insurance. Although developed by State Farm Insurance, the company notified EMAT that it did not intend to use the company name in these announcements and instead offered to substitute EMAT’s name in the promotion. Mr. Munck suggested EMAT take advantage of this generosity to promote the EMAT name, and they did.
There is no mention in the official records regarding the extension or continuation of President Alan Hall's time in office although his first year ended at the conference in 1987. It is presumed that he was re-elected and continued to serve as president for the rest of 1988.
Sometime in 1988 he described the membership of EMAT and introduced the first known goals (and mission). He said in an undated circular that EMAT was “a group of professionals who are dedicated to promoting the ideals of a solid integrated emergency management system throughout the emergency response community of Tennessee.” EMAT was intended to act as a liaison between local directors and TEMA with a goal of development of private industry and governmental entities into an effective blend responsible for emergency planning in our communities. He said EMAT would also work to obtain adequate state support due to ever-increasing cuts in federal monies.
On February 4, 1988, four members of the EMAT Executive Committee met to discuss threats in the counties as shown in the 1987 Emergency Response Handbook which was handed out at the meeting. The members, John Parsons (who would become president in 1991), Dave Maples, Gary Whorly, and Linda Templeton discussed warning signals, siren operating procedures, and other papers provided by John Parsons. The discussion preceded the upcoming seminar on chlorine at a water treatment plant. It was decided to send an article to the EMAT newspaper being published in May. There wasn’t enough information to be certain, but the meeting may have been a follow-on to the executive committee meeting in Nashville since this subject came from that meeting and affected Grainger and Jefferson Counties.
On March 16, 1988, President Hall promoted the new membership drive by issuing a challenge to recruit one member each by the following month and saying he would release each person’s recruiting totals at the end of the year. He pointed out that the membership dues had been dropped to $20 annually to help the drive.
He recognized Director Lacy Suiter for having appeared before Congress supporting both the national and local emergency management agencies. President Hall also touted the "EMAT Journal" and said he hoped it would assist in spreading the work of emergency management. He also said that he has "come to the conclusion that there is a big gap" in computers and their use in emergency management, and this was so important that he would appoint an “ad hoc” (or special) committee in the coming weeks to “look into” this problem.
On March 21, 1988, President Hall sent a letter to Congressman Don Sundquist encouraging support of emergency management, by adding enhanced amendments to improve the Disaster Assistance Act. The lack of local money for emergency management became a serious issue over the next few years and was not satisfactorily resolved until the homeland security funding provided after “9-11.”
May 18, 1988, saw President Hall announcing by memorandum that the publication of 2000 copies of the "EMAT Journal," summer edition, were distributed in April.
The EMAT board than for the first time seriously discussed the possibility of a joint conference with TEMA along with a common registration fee. Finally, after an attempt to raise more funds by an increase in registration which failed, Mr. Parsons suggested leaving the fee as-is for a year and to re-evaluate it in 1990-91. The joint conference idea passed.
TEMA Director Suiter commented during a discussion on merging EMAT with any other organization that he believed the conference could not be legally merged with IEMS (as a joint conference) and still receive state support. He did not elaborate on the reasons for his statements, but he apparently thought that state law allowed TEMA to only fund emergency management activities and not emergency services (medical).
Hal Munck (Bradley County) announced that there was a federal legislative proposal to move the earthquake program from FEMA to the U.S. Geological Survey. He said EMAT needed to support retaining the program under FEMA due to its focus on emergency response and planning, and that EMAT should send a letter to Senator (Albert) Gore in support of FEMA. This was done and the move did not come to pass.
The mayor of Nashville, Bill Boner, decided to restructure the Davidson County Office of Civil Defense into the Nashville-Davidson County (Metropolitan) Fire Department in 1988. Mr. Jim Thacker of TEMA was alarmed and advised EMAT to start explaining the need for emergency management agencies, to point out why they should be directly under the mayor and to explain what emergency management does, especially “in light of” the Davidson County decision, with the implication that this trend should be halted. Mr. Thacker said that he had sent a letter to all county directors and county executives explaining the function of emergency management agencies and who they work for. Mr. Ron Collins of TEMA said that the real work is for emergency managers to sell themselves to their county executives.
On June 23, 1988, 12 state and federal agencies met at TEMA to discuss the steps needed to deal with a four-year drought that seemed to be continuing indefinitely. The view was that the outlook was not promising for a change in weather with a high probability of worsening conditions.
A quarterly executive council meeting was held on June 27, 1988 with President Hall presiding. Two notices of intention to run for office were received, one from Jim Miller (City of Hendersonville EMA) for President and one from John Parsons (Tullahoma City EMA) for president-elect. Mr. Parsons then introduced Mr. John Riley of Arnold Air Force Base Disaster Services to the board. President Hall established a Military Affairs Committee and then appointed Mr. Riley as Chairman.
A discussion followed regarding a new policy for the TEMA director to meet with all new local directors. It was then decided that the new EMAT president and the president-elect would also visit with the TEMA director to discuss responsibilities and future policies which might be favorable to EMAT.
Mr. Miller said he was concerned that new directors are intimidated by the many "first priorities" established by the various emergency management divisions at TEMA and other state agencies. A motion was introduced to have any EMAT personnel visiting new directors to carry a copy of the "Hazardous Materials and Natural Disaster Emergencies" workbook to present as a gift to the director which would help with their priorities. The motion passed unanimously.
A recently completed "computer survey" results paper was announced showing that out of 51 agencies responding, 42 organizations used DataBase III Plus software. Only two agencies reported using Microsoft. Fifteen agencies reported using WordStar 2000 for word processing, and the runner-up reported 9 agencies using Word Perfect. There were many replies reflecting no computer or word processing support at all in the county agency. [The results further indicated an incompatibility of programs with other agencies and that there was no comprehensive statewide information sharing due to the lack of computers.]
Director Suiter announced that the FEMA budget was expected to be approved without any amendments or changes, meaning there would be no reduction in the level of funding for 1989. He said, however, the budget would still not cover Title III training (SARA chemical safety) and that local levels would likely not see much funding for hazardous materials. He did expect that earthquake preparedness funding would be restored. Under such a spartan budget being presented though, he believed the shortfall of funding would shut down some weather stations over in NOAA.
Director Suiter commented that the State had just purchased a computer software package that would be used by all TEMA regions. The contract was scheduled to be effective on July 11, 1988. He said a representative would come around to each local office to explain the functions. This giant step forward was linked to President Alan Hall’s special committee to advance computer use in every county, and Director Lacy Suiter can be credited with obtaining the money to execute the concept within TEMA which then drove the counties to invest in computer programs to interface with the state emergency management agency.
Director Suiter then announced that he was instituting uniforms for all TEMA field personnel and that they would be black and gray.
President Hall announced that there would be no federal money available to help support the fall EMAT conference which then led to a lengthy discussion on ways to save money and open up new income opportunities. Mr. Suiter said that a good speaker could cost close to $5,000, and President Hall suggested that, instead, the General Jackson showboat be considered as a draw for attendance (since it cost only $32 per couple!).
President Hall then recommended a $100 donation to NCCEM, so the motion was passed.
Mr. John Parsons (City of Tullahoma EMA) moved to establish a central membership base to be located in Williamson County and to move the EMAT permanent mailing address to that county. He further moved to make the incoming president, Mike Thompson, the membership chairman in anticipation of him becoming president. The motion passed unanimously.
Ed Ellington (Haywood County) then opened an attack on the "EMAT Journal" saying it had been giving the association a bad name since it had been inconsistent in publication and was falsely using references in soliciting ads. This was "substantiated" by a letter from Representative John Bragg who formally questioned whether the journal was in any way connected to a similar publication operated by several highway patrolmen, which was apparently proved to be “inappropriate” in its financial procedures. The implication of the legislative interest was that state money may have been inappropriately used to help publish the journal.
Another in a series of discussions arose about the value of the journal, and finally Director Suiter proposed that TEMA would publish and mail the newsletter (without ads) if the association would support it by gathering up articles. President Thompson recommended that he first write a letter to the Journal's publication office and ask for a representative to attend the next board meeting to discuss the complaints.
At the end of the meeting a discussion followed regarding nominations for officers. Apparently, the nominations committee had no appointments. There was no action to fill the committee. President Thompson did take the time, however, to appoint John Parsons (Tullahoma City EMA) to the Awards Committee chairmanship.
On October 30, 1988, President Hall at the end of his second term welcomed Adjutant General Carl Wallace as the principal speaker at the Murfreesboro Garden Plaza Hotel in the fall conference. Mike Thompson (Williamson County) assumed office as President of EMAT during the 1988 conference. There is no mention in the official records regarding the loss of the race by Jim Miller who had announced he would also run for president. During this meeting, the board was made aware of a letter (dated April 6, 1989) from Communication Specialist Carolyn Kiber from Manchester, TN who requested the association follow up on her original request to "refund" her for the loss of a stolen two-way radio from a booth at which she worked during the conference.
EDITORS' NOTE: The “Executive Council” was the official name of the association leadership at this time, but during this administration, the council began to be colloquially called the "EMAT Board." This shows up interchangeably with the "executive council" until the name was officially changed.
A Sovran Bank statement dated January 5, 1989 shows a balance of $653.95 for EMAT.
On May 11, 1989 a salary and local benefits survey was sent out by President Mike Thompson to all local directors of emergency management and civil defense.
The executive council was called to order by President Thompson on May 17, 1989 and reviewed the unpaid bill for the radio stolen from the communications specialist at the fall conference. The board decided to assume the loss and pay the bill. Mr. Thompson then reported that EMAT was also responsible for a hospitality room at the conference, which was supposed to have been sponsored by Mr. Don Goad of the Angel Company. No reason was given for the problem, but Mr. Goad thought his company had paid the bill. At any rate, Mr. Hall, the immediate past president, volunteered to pay the remaining balance, $154.68.
Ms. Holli Givens, President Thompson’s secretary in Williamson County, became EMAT secretary and announced that the membership stood at 104 members.
President Thompson suggested that an audit be performed on the Alan Hall administration term since this was required by the constitution. A motion was made for an audit for the year 1988-89 and the motion carried. Mr. Thompson also suggested that EMAT establish an office to maintain continuity. He also asked Mr. John Parsons (Tullahoma EMA) if he would volunteer to be permanent membership chairman. Mr. Parsons accepted and then requested that Immediate Past President Hall be continued as editor of the "EMAT Journal."
A discussion ensued regarding the winner of the past year's membership drive, Mr. Hal Munck, who was awarded a trip to the Bahamas. The board discussed a potential embarrassment regarding the promotion that Mr. Munck had won. Although EMAT had agreed to support the trip, the trip was paid for by NCCEM. The council then discussed fund uses for other travels and reached a consensus that no money should be spent on “trips” unless specifically approved by the board. A further consensus was reached that any future recruiting recognitions would be for caps, jackets, plaques, etc., and not for trips.
The board discussed the salary and benefits survey, including the fact that only eight counties had replied. President Thompson suggested the survey should be done on a yearly basis to obtain complete information. They discussed ways to make the survey better and wanted to continue the effort to reach a mid-July result. They discussed having a joint conference with TEMA and suggested combining the EMAT membership fee with the registration fee.
The board discussed the issue of "emergency" license plates and legislation regarding the operation of emergency lights. There was a discussion that revealed some friction with the law enforcement community, specifically that there was a strong threat from "police" to restrict emergency management vehicles from running blue lights. The legislative pressure was due apparently to an incident of misuse in one of the counties.
President Thompson said he and Mr. Munck represented EMAT at the Tennessee Emergency Services Advisory Council meeting in March. A motion was passed to name President Thompson and Mr. Munck as permanent representatives to TEMAC.
Even though they were not funded for SARA Title III compliance, TEMA Director Lacy Suiter and Steve Smith (TEMA) made a plea for counties to comply with SARA Title III guidance. They recommended utilizing the media in making the push. Director Suiter said the FEMA budget would still probably not include any funding for Title III training courses. He said he thought money would be restored for earthquake training.
Mr. Erwin (probably Craig, but no first name was provided) announced that TESAC had been formed in November of 1988 to bring emergency response organizations together. He said TEMA training courses were a major success. He said the next TESAC meeting on July 1, 1989 would be taped and broadcast by satellite. Their goal was to have 30-40 organizations involved by then and that an IEMS conference would be held in September.
There was then a discussion about whether EMAT and TEMA could jointly support a conference with IEMS, but Director Suiter said he still did not believe this could be done legally by TEMA and said he could only support EMAT.
It was recognized that a federal budget reduction had affected NOAA significantly with several nearby weather stations shut down. Mr. Suiter then raised the budget issue with the EMAT board about what could be done by TEMA to help with the long-term financial problems being experienced by the counties.
On June 7, 1989 President Mike Thompson sent a second memorandum to local emergency management and civil defense directors to urge a reply to the salary and benefits survey.
On August 16, 1989 EMAT President-Elect Harold Munck recommended to Dan Vaughn (Madison County EMA), who had become chairman of the Nominations Committee, that two persons should be nominated by the committee instead of just one giving the membership a better choice of candidates for president.
On September 7, 1989 a Sovran Bank statement shows the EMAT balance as $149.47.
On October 12, 1989 EMAT President-Elect Munck (signing as president just prior to the November conference) sent a letter of recommendation to President George Bush supporting Lacy Suiter to be the next FEMA director. The theme of the letter was reflected by the quote, "that we are willing to let him go knowing that we as well as the rest of the country, will benefit from his appointment to FEMA."
Hal Munck (Bradley County) took office officially in September of 1989 as president. The president-elect was Ed Ellington (Brownsville-Haywood County), with Mike Thompson recognized as immediate past president. Vice presidents were Avagene Moore (Lawrenceburg-Lawrence County), Beth Corbin (Gibson County), Susan Mooney of American Red Cross-Nashville, and Paul Hicks (Blount County). The elected secretary/treasurer was Zona Parham (Cleveland-Bradley County EMA). Appointed positions included John Riley as Military Liaison Committee chairman, Susan Mooney as Public Relations and EMAT Newsletter Committee chairperson, Don Allen as Sergeant-at-Arms, John Parsons (Tullahoma City EMA) as Bylaws and Constitution Committee chairman, and Dan Vaughn as Membership Committee chairman. Avagene Moore was appointed as Legislative Committee chairperson and three persons were appointed to the committee by the president: Jim Lundy, Jim Miller (Hendersonville EMA), and Jeff Crenshaw (Shelby County).
After his inauguration President Munck declared his goals for 1989-1990. He wanted every director to be a member of EMAT. He said he wanted a professional image for the association, a voice in the legislature, and wanted to be a "sounding board" for issues affecting local directors and the IEMS audience. He urged a close working relationship with TEMA and the "three grand divisions embracing regional chapters of EMAT." He said he also wanted to stress education aspects and to keep the membership informed.
During the 3-day EMAT conference on November 1, 1989 at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Murfreesboro the long-awaited salary survey was released showing an average salary for 48 directors or coordinators of $22,934. (For jurisdictions over 150,000, the average was almost double the state average, $39,722, for the 50,000 to 150,000 population segment the average was $23,172 and for those counties with less than 50,000 population the average salary was $20,333.) Twenty-nine agencies reported they had changed their name to "emergency management agency," but 11 counties were still named "civil defense." Two counties merged the two names together.
Captain Doug Norman of the Knoxville Police Department submitted that he had personally recruited over 30 new members for EMAT.
A cold weather disaster occurred over the Christmas holidays requiring shelters to be established in Wilson, Davidson, Rutherford and Robertson counties (although it was not a presidential disaster). Eighty families were assisted by the Red Cross disaster services at the John Sevier Retirement Center in Johnson City on Christmas eve when a fire there left 16 dead and 147 homeless. Relief costs totaled over $200,000. This is the second time a fire had hit the center.
President Munck on January 10, 1990, presented his administration plan in an association update. He said there were plans to share an exhibit booth with TEMA at the Tennessee Municipal League conference in Nashville on January 30. He reported the association membership at 83, of which only 62 were active, the others being associates. He proposed to promote the emergency management program to legislators during the next session and named Hendersonville City EMA director Jim Miller as EMAT's leader of a new education-orientation program for newly appointed directors.
EMAT and TEMA finally sponsored a booth together at the Tennessee Municipal League Legislative Conference at the Hyatt in Nashville on January 30th. Together, they passed out educational and promotional materials.
President Munck originated a survey of needs on June 18, 1990 from county directors to determine why the counties thought they need state funding assistance. This survey was mailed to all county emergency management directors, but it resulted in only 23 replies from the 95 counties.
The survey revealed that most counties wanted better communications equipment and networking resources and funds for an adequate statewide weather warning system, for NAWAS, and for other upgraded communications. There was a scattered response asking for more funding for local salaries. TEMA had a motto of being the "Statewide 911" at the time, and they were challenged to provide more training than just HAZMAT or radiological training. TEMA was requested to lead an effort to provide a warning system and upgraded communications. Two or three surveys were sent in unsigned or unmarked and one was returned as an undeliverable address. The survey results were intended to be used to underscore the need for state funding, but the poor returns and the scattered needs for other than the above did not do much to garner support.
Jim Miller (Hendersonville City EMA) in the meantime agreed to head EMAT's education orientation program. Preliminary planning had already been started with Bill Rhame of TEMA leading.
A summer 1990 newsletter reported that John Riley was appointed as Chairman of the Awards and Recognitions Committee. The newsletter also reported that TEMA had announced that all 95 counties had LEPC's.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There was no automated system established at this time for filing the Title III reports in Tennessee and an employee at TEMA (Betty Eaves) was assigned from state assets to receive and file paper reports.
On August 8, 1990, EMAT was administratively dissolved as a corporate charter business by Secretary of State Bryant Millsaps for failing to file the legally required corporation annual report.
EDITOR'S NOTE: These service years can be confusing since the remark for a president’s service starts in the previous year of his term at the end of the fall conference. The president actually began serving after the conference of the first year shown to the fall conference of the following year.
Ed Ellington became EMAT president during the conference in 1990. There are only a few minutes available to support the events in this administration.
On March 1, 1991, President Ed Ellington sent a report from the February 2, 1991 spring conference. The amount of money on hand was reported as $2,257.59 and the membership totals were 121 of which 82 were active and 39 were associate.
On May 28, 1991, President Ellington welcomed everyone to the IEMS Conference (not the EMAT conference) at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg. His first comments were to encourage everyone to submit articles to the TEMA/EMAT Newsletter, saying the first copy looked great and was mailed to all members and county directors. He then discussed the 1991 By-Laws, adding the committees of Sustaining Membership and Professional/Technical Membership. He proposed the dues to be $25 for active, $25 for the associate and $50 for professional/technical. The regional vice-presidents then encouraged everyone to help solicit members to join EMAT.
Jay Bowdin (TEMA) said he had developed a standard Statewide Incident Reporting Form for the counties in disasters. Bill Rhame (TEMA) reported a State Computer Bulletin Board number which would be operational from 4 pm to 8 am each day (or night). A password was required. Mike Thompson (Rutherford County) reported that the County Substance Act of 1991 (Senate Bill 32) was in committee and threatened to charge the county for recovery in hazardous materials incidents. He encouraged the members to call their senators. He said legislators had already passed Senate Bill 799 which applies to motor vehicles after the driver has been found at fault by a court of law. He did not say how this affects emergency management. A new Fire Mobilization Act of 1990 would assist forestry and rural volunteer fire departments with training to improve fire protection for rural areas. He closed by saying it is a lot easier to amend a bill already passed than to present a new bill.
Chairman Bowdin said the federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) should provide assistance down the road to local government. He said that money will be collected in 1993 and that some $5 million of the collection would go for planning, and 75% should go to local government. He said that of $7.8 million going to training, 75% of that should benefit the local government. He suggested calling Susan Bullard, U.S. Department of Transportation, for more information.
President Ellington asked for suggestions for the General Shoulders Award and that these be submitted to the regional vice-presidents. He said this should be a very prestigious award and given only when the criteria are met (the criteria was not identified!).
The NCCEM Conference is scheduled for July 28-August 1 in Durham, North Carolina, and Hal Munck is planning to attend. President Ellington said to inform him if attending.
Bill Rhames (TEMA) requested input and comments on the recently published TEMA training calendar.
The fall conference (EMAT/TEMA) was scheduled for October 18-20 in the Nashville area and featured the selection of state association officers. It was announced that EMAT is proposing regional training sessions on day one (without overnight accommodations offered). The regional directors of TEMA and regional vice-presidents of EMAT were scheduled to get together with Mike Thompson (Rutherford County) and work up the training program. West Tennessee was used as an example in providing regional quarterly training sessions over several years and that this would help the sessions to go smoothly. President Ellington said a good time should be had with an opportunity to share information with neighboring counties.
In the fall conference in 1991, John Parsons (Tullahoma Emergency Management) became president. Linda Templeton was appointed as Secretary, but the minutes to support this administration have been lost.
President Dan Vaughn (Jackson-Madison County) assumed office and hosted representatives from TEMA and EMAT to discuss the most serious matters of emergency management.
The officers for that period are identified as President Dan Vaughn, Past President John Parsons (Tullahoma Emergency Management), Bill Travis (Rutherford County), President-Elect; Howard Luttrell (Shelby County), East Tn Vice President; Steve Jones (Montgomery County), North Middle Tn Vice President; Mike Thompson (Williamson County), South Middle Tn Vice President; Charlie Bryant (Memphis Emergency Management), West Tn Vice President; Joel Vinsant (Hamilton County), Constitution and By-Laws; Ed Ellington, Awards and Recognitions; Beth Corbin Phelan, Jerry Hunt, and Ken Fritts, Membership; Nancy McGill (Davidson County), American Red Cross Liaison; John Riley (Coffee County), Military; Hal Munck (Bradley County), Search and Rescue; Bill Travis, Conference; Andy Hellenthal, Education; and Aaron Womble (Bedford County), Credentials and Nominations.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This meeting was not an official EMAT meeting, although many of the attendees were members of EMAT. The meeting was hosted at the EMA in Jackson by the EMAT president and reveals that EMAT service went deep into the operation of county emergency management organizations, usually with members holding multiple positions. There are no minutes available to support other events in this administration, however, a listing of EMAT officers has been discovered which shows the period of service.
In the conference at the end of 1993, Bill Travis (Rutherford County) became president. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
The Fourth Annual Conference of the Emergency Management Association of Tennessee was held at the Holiday Inn Holidome, I-24 Exit, in Murfreesboro on October 26-28, 1994. President Travis presided and had as guests, John White from TEMA, Lacy Suiter from FEMA and Bill Hall, the WSMV-TV, Channel 4 celebrity weatherman. The reception and awards were supported by Ferguson & Harbour. The incoming president, Joel Vinsant (Hamilton County) also spoke, but it isn’t known what he said.
In the conference at the end of 1995, Aaron Womble (Bedford County) became president. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
In 1996 Steven R. Jones (Montgomery County) became president. President Jones pushed for K-9 standards and attempted to get the CEMP program going. He supported a surcharge on insurance policies in order to help fund EMA programs, but opposition in the legislature stopped this effort. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration. The remarks are provided from memories of the time.
In the conference at the end of 1997, Warren J. Vaughn (Dickson County) became president. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
In 1998 the first person to be certified as an emergency management professional was TEMA West Region Director, Kelly Zadakaus. His approval, along with seven others for CEMP and 2 EM-2’s, started the certification program. The other CEMP designees were Don Allen (Hamilton County), Tim Curtis, Steve Manley (Dickson County), Kathy Hovis (Deputy Director-Lincoln County), Elizabeth Rucker-Reed, Warren Vaughn (Dickson County), and Joel Vinsant (Hamilton County). The EM-2’s were Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) and Cathy L. Vaughn (Dickson County). No more designations were accomplished until 2001.
In the conference at the end of 1998, Nancy McGill (American Red Cross) became president. She remained president for a few months and then resigned due to the discovery of terminal illness (cancer) of her husband. President-Elect James Medling (Dyer County) assumed office as President when the position vacated. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
In the conference at the end of 1999, President Medling (Dyer County) was re-elected president for another term. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
In the conference at the end of 2000, Steven R. Manley (Dickson County) became president. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.