HISTORY OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF TENNESSEE
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Updated: September 16, 2020
EMAT Board of Directors HISTORICAL COMMITTEE:
Daryl Justice, Chairman
Donnie K. Smith, Member
In the conference at the end of 2001, Mike Hall (Lincoln County) became president. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
Four more CEMP’s were designated in 2001, John D. Bradberry (TEMA), Don Hood, Steve Jones (Montgomery County), John D. White (TEMA), and Jerry Buchanan as an EM1.
Three CEMP’s were designated in 2002, Janice Newman (Carroll County), Diane Pryor (TEMA) and Willie Talley (TEMA). No other CEMP’s were designated until 2007.
In the conference at the end of 2002, Tyler Smith (Putnam County) became president. There is only one set of minutes to support events in this administration.
On August 20, 2003 President Tyler Smith called the membership and the board concurrently to order during the annual fall conference (no indication where it was). President Smith asked for Secretary Kathy Hovis to read the minutes and these were approved. Treasurer Danette Roland presented the financial statement (no indication of what was in the report) and this report was approved.
Warren (Vaughn?) (Dickson County) moved to take $5000 from checking and move it to a Certificate of Deposit since EMAT can retain only $25,000 in checking to stay in non-profit status. After some discussion, Warren amended his motion from $5000 to $10,000 and the motion was carried.
President Smith said that the (Tennessee) Department of Homeland Security has asked for three names to be nominated for its joint fund distribution committee. However, the Governor has, in the meantime, decided that the President of each association (Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and 911) would be the member representatives on the committee, so only President Smith (from EMAT) was selected for a three-year term.
President Smith stated that John Riley volunteered to create an EMAT newsletter and encouraged members to send information to him.
Bill Tittle (Hamilton County) asked everyone to give Kathy (Hovis?)(Lincoln County), Diane (Pryor)(TEMA) and Danette (Rolen)(Volunteer-Sevier County) a standing ovation for the great job they did at the conference.
There was an extensive discussion of the CEM program. The discussion culminated with directions for Ed (Gaugh?) to return the records cabinet to TEMA at the next meeting.
President Smith asked for nominations for President and reported that Ed (Gaugh), President-Elect, had gone to work for TEMA as an area coordinator in West Tennessee and therefore could not hold office as EMAT president. Warren (Vaughn?) then nominated Jackie Wilkerson, who was voted in by acclimation. Mike (Thompson?) (Williamson County) then nominated R. L. Douglas (Robertson County) who was then voted in by acclimation. Vice Presidents were nominated as follows: East – Betty Hamby, Middle – Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County), and West – Janice Newman (Carroll County), all of whom were voted in by acclimation.
President Smith announced that he had enjoyed his year at President of EMAT and would continue to help in any way that he could.
Jackie Wilkerson (Sumner County) became president in the 2003 fall conference by acclamation after Ed Gaugh (Fayette County), the president-elect, declined to serve. Under President Jackie Wilkerson (Sumner County), EMAT began to make some in-roads toward improving the professionalism of emergency management directors. Training was presented during the association’s conferences that dramatically improved the knowledge of responders and helped attendees to understand the complexities of coordinating the different response elements. In 2004 a strong effort was undertaken to continue recognition of long-term experience and education in the emergency management field, and EMAT again began to review applications for certified emergency management professionals. The highest level was CEMP and the lower levels EM2 (intermediate) and EM1 (lowest). Due to the high standards set (and the unfamiliarity with the requirements), no application was approved until 2007.
On November 25, 2003 President Jackie (Wilkerson?)(Davidson County?) called the board to order and requested corrections for the October 28 minutes by Secretary Kathy Hovis (Lincoln County). Being none, the minutes were then approved and Secretary Danette Rolen went over the financial statement for October. She reported there was $7,849.81 in Sun Trust checking, $10,000 in a CD at Sun Trust, $5,628.92 in a CD at Cavalry Bank in Murfreesboro, and $4,705.99 in checking at Cavalry Bank.
Secretary Hovis said that Ferguson Harbour had paid the rest of an outstanding invoice totaling $655.25.
A discussion followed regarding the web site with the result that Don (Hood) (Hamilton County) was charged to obtain information for Libby (?) (apparently to change something on the site).
Newsletter Chairman John Riley (Volunteer-Coffee County) said the newsletter is going to press after the first of the year. He said that (Tennessee Air National Guard Colonel retired) Joe Thomas and Kurt Pickering (TEMA PIO) would help with the input. Anyone wishing to have something published should contact him.
TARS Chairman Don Hood said he had attended an EMS symposium in Gatlinburg (on behalf of EMAT).
CEM Chairman R. L. Douglas (Robertson County) reported that the CEM committee would hopefully be sending out packet approvals after the first of the year. Metro-Davidson County had six packets pending.
Diane Pryor (TEMA) said she is working on a spring TEMA conference and will submit the agenda to the (TEMA) director (General Jim Bassham) for approval soon. She said that TEMA’s membership check would be sent to the association the following week.
Military Committee Chairman Tom Rolen (Tennessee Air National Guard Volunteer-Sevier County) said he had attended an Emergency Response Symposium (on behalf of EMAT) where one of the items discussed was a national response plan. He said it should be finished by the end of the year when it would be put in place formally. He noted that FEMA’s seal is being retired with a new one was being developed.
Homeland Security Chairman Tyler Smith (Putnam County) said he is waiting on the next committee meeting (when he would have something to report).
Legislative Chairman Mike Thompson (Williamson County) said he had been talking with the Fire (Chief’s) Association about their legislative package. He handed out a list of the bills that were of interest to EMAT. The first one is the re-write of the Tennessee Emergency Assistance Act to simplify mutual aid laws in Tennessee. The second bill was to amend the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System to include emergency management personnel in the Group II (police and fire) section. The third bill was the establishment of an emergency management preparedness and assistance trust fund. He moved to include these bills in the EMAT agenda for legislative support and the motion carried. He said (TEMA Director) General Jim Bassham is willing to work with EMAT on these issues. He said he would keep the association updated on these bills.
Constitution and By-Laws Chairman James Medling (Dyer County) reported that there were two counties looking for new directors due to Dan Vaughn (Jackson/ Madison County) leaving and Clint Buchanan (Memphis/Shelby County) retiring.
President Wilkerson called the next meeting for January 20, 2004 in the SEOC in Nashville, cancelling the December meeting.
There are no other minutes other than August and November 2003 to support the events in this administration.
In the conference at the end of 2004, R.L. Douglas (Robertson County) became president. There are no minutes available to support the events in this administration.
In the conference at the end of 2005, Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) became president. President Hogan with the assistance of Ricky Graves (Gibson County) laid the groundwork during his time in office for obtaining approval of EMAT as a “tax-exempt” organization for gifts under IRS rule 501(c)(3). The minutes for all months but October 2005 are missing.
On October 18, 2005 President Hogan (Cheatham County) opened the Executive Board meeting in the TEMA Middle Tennessee Regional Office in Nashville, TN with the theme of gaining more membership. He said his goals as president were to increase membership, better the TEMA working relationship, and to come up with an incentive to pay emergency managers in each county. President-Elect Roger Allen was present, as was East TN Vice President Howie Rose and Middle TN Vice President Mark Blackwood.
John Riley (Newsletter Committee Chairman-Tullahoma) suggested that EMAT send a letter to the prior members asking them to re-join. He further suggested putting an article in the newsletter about the awards system to familiarize members with the awards process. President Hogan said he would prepare an article on awards.
Diane Pryor (TEMA Liaison) provided an update on the TEMA Assessment Program and handed out an updated list of EMAT members who were active. Ms. Pryor stated that TEMA was just starting to teach CEM classes!
Newsletter Committee Chairman John Riley (Coffee County) thought the last conference was the best one ever, and President Hogan felt that the backing of TEMA and Homeland Security (which had jointly participated) helped make it a success. Diane Pryor spoke of some of the complaints, the most frequent being that not enough law enforcement was involved (i.e., did not come to the conference). Ms. Pryor asked if the association needed to send membership invitations directly to law enforcement departments in each county rather than through the local emergency management director. President Hogan suggested that the association send a flyer to the Fire Chiefs’ Association, Sheriffs’ Association and the Police Chiefs’ Association. Ms. Pryor said she would put a brochure together of the past conference to send to the different associations.
A discussion ensued about the new NIMS requirements from FEMA and how the most controversial requirement, changing the 10-codes to common language, would be a problem in attaining NIMS compliance (due to reluctance of the police organizations to change). There was no resolution.
Mr. Riley requested that events that occur in each director’s county be sent to him so he can include it in the newsletter.
Vice President Rose (Roane County) said he had sent letters to the thirteen counties in East Tennessee region asking what they expect out of their EMAT Vice President. He said he received responses wanting to know what EMAT’s vision is for the next annual year, so he suggested increased emphasis on the Certified Emergency Management Program (CEMP) and NIMS.
Vice President Blackwood (Maury County) asked if there is a new membership packet for new members. Ms. Pryor explained that there is a brochure for EMAT and CEMP. Vice-President Blackwood suggested that we also needed a generic EMA director job description. President-Elect Roger Allen said he would send questionnaires to the members for their input on this recommendation.
Awards Chairman James Medling (Dyer County) explained the steps that an applicant must take to be certified as CEMP. President-Elect Allen suggested the need for getting literature back into the field to help support the program.
Ms. Patsy Hargis, K-9 Committee Chairperson, asked if she could have an article written featuring Preparedness Tennessee, especially to highlight the Urban Search and Rescue program in West Tennessee and the K-9s that have met certification.
In the conference at the end of 2006, Roger Allen, after a long military career culminating as first sergeant of a unit in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY and a short period of service as LEMD in Rutherford County, became EMAT president. The minutes for this period are missing.
In January 2007 President Roger Allen (Rutherford County) called the board meeting to order with a discussion of the open positions on the Executive Board and asked for nominations. President Allen wanted to focus on getting law enforcement, emergency medical service and fire department personnel involved in the association’s board positions, not just emergency management directors. A strong discussion evolved regarding what membership and volunteer leadership does for a person. The discussion ended with a comment that Homeland Security was dictating to local government and that no one has time to do anything else.
A complaint was heard from two people in Lincoln County who had applied for CEMP in April of 2006 and had not heard anything in nearly a year. President Allen stated that this was his fault since he had not been able to pull together the CEMP committee members to consider the next steps. Past President Edwin Hall said he had had the same problem when he was President and he said he wanted to either do the program right or forget about it. Mr. Hall suggested that the board change who is to approve applications, and a discussion evolved with the focus of putting a time limit on each action and changing the by-laws for CEMP. A vote was approved to revise the program to ensure applications were reviewed and approved in a timely manner. This change resulted in simply taking the TEMA regional directors out of the chain of approval for CEMP’s which sped the process extensively. More discussion followed in an attempt to find ways to better involve TEMA in the process of CEMP.
Bill Cooper then stated that TEMA may not be able to provide financial support to the conference this year and that the association should start looking for another source of funding. He proposed several different projects that could raise money. Some discussion evolved about holding a conference in Memphis to obtain EMAT support funding from Shelby County. This threw water on the campfire.
President Allen reconfirmed a vote to allow the K-9 Handlers to become a member of the association in return for donation of time and maintenance of animals. No action followed to implement this decision.
In February 2007 President Allen indicated his concern with non-attending board members and to determine whether they wanted to continue to serve. A discussion evolved with a plan to set some standards for attendance for the Executive Board.
Discrepancies on the CEMP Review Board were then discussed and whether a CEMP checklist is needed. President Allen complimented Past-President Hogan for sending out nice letters to explain why applications were being denied. This brought a discussion regarding how many applications were backlogged. The report revealed there were only three applications backlogged, but they had dragged on without a decision for over a year. The inference in the discussion was that the delay was caused by a TEMA regional director where the director did not quickly act on an approval (or disapproval). TEMA Director Jim Bassham was brought into the discussion for his support since the regions are under his supervision and since he is required to sign the CEMP certificate when approved. Adding an evaluator to the checklist was also discussed.
Board discussion then moved to the EMAT member insurance benefit, then to a means of raising money through donation projects, then to trust fund legislation, to EM community leadership and to a TEMA speakers’ bureau. No action occurred on any of these topics.
A report was received on TEMA’s new involvement with Walmart, Federal Express, Home Depot, Bell South and so on.
Finally, a report was received on a joint meeting with Kentucky and Tennessee regarding a flooding threat posed by Wolfe Creek Dam.
In March 2007 President Allen briefed proposed legislation supported by various law enforcement associations regarding the elimination of blue lights from emergency management vehicles. Discussion then moved to handgun restrictions and the statutory base amount for the LEMD incentive. President Allen requested the board to be alert and to brief the leadership on anything that affects emergency management.
Discussion then centered on the fire department proposal to enhance standards of training. This plan would conceivably require Rookie School and Live Burn training after 10 years of phase-in.
President Allen then said that this year he wanted to add 12 new members to EMAT from the Special Operations Response Team and the Paramedics. Mr. Allen also noted that some EMA directors were not members of EMAT. A vote was approved to request the vice-presidents to sponsor a recruiting drive for membership in their region.
Vice President (Middle Tennessee) Kathy Hovis complained that Lincoln County was not happy with EMAT due to the length of time it has taken to consider their county applications for CEMP. President Allen thought the delay had been fixed, but the discussion moved on to identify TEMA as the culprit and this resulted in a proposal to eliminate TEMA from the review process.
(EDITORS'S NOTE: TEMA was originally included in the approval process to get the TEMA regional director involved, who would supposedly know the applicant and be able to recommend a quality nomination. They would approve by signing the CEMP recommendation which then would then travel to the agency director for signature. There were times this became a very lengthy process. This plan for packet review delayed the process by months due to mailing time from the regions to the TEMA headquarters even when the packet was reviewed quickly. When emergencies occurred or there were cases of disapproval of the nominee, the packet was usually delayed or not acted upon. If the packet was being disapproved, neither TEMA nor EMAT wanted to explain why it was held up or who had disapproved it.)
Past President Hall asked if the Executive Board needed to suspend the CEMP program until the process could be fixed. President Allen did not want to do this and suggested that another effort be made to repair the delay. He tabled the proposal, and the discussion then moved to NIMS and its implementation. A decision was made to hear a presentation on NIMS at the conference.
In April 2007 President-Elect Rickey Graves, acting in the absence of the President, presided to discuss an update of the movement on the EMAT LEMD incentive. Sponsorship of events was discussed, followed by a discussion of scholarships.
President-Elect Graves led the discussion to the next steps required to move the EMAT incentive and suggested appointing a legislative sub-committee.
He reconfirmed that the final decision for CEMP approval rests with the President-Elect (who at the time under the by-laws was chairman of the CEMP committee). A nomination was then made to recognize James Williams (TEMA) as an EM-1. Jim Williams was approved for EM-1, and the remaining CEMP applications being held were also approved.
In May 2007 President Allen gave an update on pending legislation in the General Assembly regarding emergency management blue lights. Many counties had equipped their vehicles with blue lights as had TEMA, and this legislation would require removal from any vehicle not law enforcement.
President Allen approved a vote to create a legislative committee to encourage action on the EMAT incentive bill.
President Allen gave an update on CEMP certificates and how they should be presented. He proposed mailing a certificate immediately upon approval and then presenting a framed certificate with a pin at the conference. The President also agreed that an expiration date needed to be added to the certificate. Discussion followed on developing a card to carry after a person had been approved for CEMP or other level. A vote followed and the proposal was approved. A vote was carried to eliminate associate memberships since it is so hard to determine who were members on the floor during a vote.
President Allen appointed President-Elect Eugene Nichols (Bedford County EMA director) to the chairmanship of the Membership Committee.
A suggestion and motion were made for a “memorial” to be prepared for TEMA Deputy Director Eddie Boatwright, who was terminally ill.
In June 2007 President Allen gave another update on legislation pending in the General Assembly and briefed a recently published Attorney General’s opinion regarding the use of red lights instead of blue lights for emergency management. He opined that emergency management is not considered law enforcement any more after the transition from Civil Defense.
In July 2007 the Executive Board met with President Allen as chairman and started the process for the association to meet the requirements for a 501(c)(3) program (IRS), making donations tax deductible.
In October the association’s net worth was reported to be over $50,000. Roger Allen’s successes at raising the economic value of the association could not be understated. President Allen materially helped the association to get on its feet.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Regrettably, in addition to TEMA Deputy Director Eddie Boatwright, President Allen was lost to cancer, another great blow to the emergency management community.)
The conference of 2007 saw the election of Ricky Graves of Gibson County as President since the current President-Elect under Roger Allen could not accept the office of President due to legal issues in his county. President Graves requested, and for the first time ever received, significant direct TEMA support of funding for training at the annual conference and began the effort to set standards for state funding of all full-time local directors.
On December 13, 2007, the Executive Board met at the State EOC in Nashville with Rickey Graves as President, Roger Allen as Immediate Past President and TEMA Director (General) Jim Bassham present (among others). Secretary Tara Simmons reported that there would be no Treasurer’s Report since she could not contact the Treasurer.
President Graves asked if the guidelines on the trust fund legislation had been written, and Mr. Bill Cooper (TEMA Liaison), stated that “they” were probably still working on them. President Graves asked that there be a follow-up to get them completed. Mr. Cooper talked with Kelly Zadakaus (West Tennessee Regional Director-TEMA), reported that he had submitted the training requirements for local directors to General Bassham. Mr. Donnie Smith, TEMA Project Officer, stated that he had received the report from Mr. Zadakaus, but had not been tasked with doing anything with the information.
President Graves said he felt we were in “crunch time” because the federal government is talking about doing away with EMPG funding. Mr. Cooper asked what the Board needs from TEMA to help on the guidelines, and President Graves suggested that he be charged with getting a rough draft together to insert what we need to in a bill and to set a base salary or percentage salary as a recommendation.
Mr. Cooper asked if a committee has been formed to develop the proposal, and President Graves named himself (implying as chairman), Edwin Hogan, James Medling and Marilyn White and left it up to the Vice-Presidents to nominate someone from each of their regions to be added later.
General Bassham discussed the procedures and steps which any legislation must go through.
About this time Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA Project Officer) began to attend EMAT meetings regularly and was formally appointed EMAT Liaison. He was charged with supporting the EMAT programs approved by General Bassham, and his work started with handling the TEMA/EMAT conference, training, budget, certification and professionalization of applicants, and public promotion of the bond between TEMA and EMAT.
Mr. Smith explained that revenue is down due to the drought, that housing rates are down, etc., and General Bassham said that he would be glad to meet with the committee on this issue. He said that any legislation would probably take time, possibly years and not months, to be passed. Director Bassham asked if emergency management across the state could agree on the standards, and President Graves said that West Tennessee would. Ms. Zorsch said East Tennessee would, and Mr. Allen and Mr. Hogan said they thought Middle Tennessee would.
Mr. Smith said that not only do you need the standards and salary, but you also need educational programs to explain the need for emergency managers. He said not everyone understands the emergency management system, including some who have recently been made a local director.
General Bassham spoke about an “emergency management bible” that would soon be shared with local emergency managers and county mayors. The first page in this book, he said, should state the disasters that would potentially pertain to that county as defined by a local review. He suggested that a working group, with a member from TEMA and a knowledgeable elected official, to get the standards set. This booklet was prepared for all county mayors and emergency management directors.
President Graves suggested that the standards be set first, then to present the idea to the insurance lobbyist. He suggested a rough draft with the guidelines for the legislation to be presented in regional meetings of the local directors. General Bassham said that TEMA could help if needed.
Mr. Chris King (TEMA Training Director) made a presentation on WICAB. General Bassham asked what kind of money TEMA had previously put into the conference for TEMA employees to participate. Mr. Cooper said it was around $15,000. General Bassham said he did not know at this time if TEMA would have money to help with the upcoming conference, but he would look into it.
President Graves said he had spoken with Mike Zelnik (Training Officer) of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, and he said they would be holding their own conference (law enforcement-centric) at Paris Landing State Park. Mr. Cooper went over a survey for the conference, and Ms. Simmons suggested a deadline should be established for submission of the rest of them. She said there should also be a suggestion box for participants to say what they want to receive at conferences since they are getting tired of portfolios. Mr. Cooper said the association should do a survey to decide this. President Graves suggested that another line could be added at the bottom of the current survey to say that another survey would follow. A motion to approve the survey for the conference was passed, and both were to be sent to the membership.
Jody Zorsch stated that the 911 conference would be September 14-17, 2008 and asked the board not to conflict any new events with the dates of this conference.
Mr. Smith reminded the board that the federal fiscal year ends in September, and sometimes there is federal money left unspent at the end of the year. President Graves says that EMAT has never received any of that money.
Mr. Cooper suggested to make sure EMAT reserves enough rooms to start off rather than not enough.
Mr. Smith thanked EMAT for sending flowers to Deputy Director Boatwright’s funeral.
Mr. Hogan gave Ms. Simmons a letter from the association’s attorney requesting a few questions to the Treasurer, Danette Rolen. Mr. Hogan said he would prefer that she mail it back to him, and he would hand deliver it to the attorney.
K-9 Subcommittee Chairperson Patsy Hargis asked for the board to consider adding an Assistant Coordinator for the State K-9 program. Ms. Debra Burnett has worked closely with Ms. Hargis in the past and is qualified, she said. She also suggested that the K-9 program start charging a fee for testing and to bring that funding to EMAT. A motion was passed to that effect.
President Graves said that the Middle Tennessee Vice-President’s position will need to be back filled. Ms. Simmons stated that Kathy Hovis had agreed to fill the position (by appointment) until the term is up. A motion was passed to this effect.
The contact list was discussed by Ms. Simmons after a request from Mr. Gary West (CTAS) to obtain this information.
President Graves agreed to talk with Mike Shankle about the Vice President position (running for election). Mr. Cooper said that Lieutenant Ronnie Shirley (Tennessee Highway Patrol) had agreed to accept an opportunity to run. A discussion also brought up with Mr. Sammy Britt’s name as a possible candidate.
Ms. Tara Simmons (EMAT Secretary-Rutherford County) asked if corporate sponsors of the conference could automatically become corporate members. A motion to this effect was passed.
Mr. Bill Cooper (TEMA) said he presented framed art to Mr. James Lee Witt (the previous FEMA administrator) on behalf of the association.
Three CEMP’s were designated in 2007, Frederick Lamon III, Ashley Watson Phelps, and Sharon Templeton and one EM1 for James H. Williams II (TEMA).
On January 8, 2008 President Graves prepared a letter to go to all members of the association to start them in taking part in the decision-making process on a wide range of topics beginning with the 2008 EMAT conference. He wrote that the Executive Board is asking members to answer several short questions in an electronic poll.
President Graves called the Executive Board meeting in Nashville to order on January 23, 2008. The Treasurer was not present, and President Graves asked if the bills from the conference were paid. Mr. Bill Cooper, TEMA Liaison, said he did not know if James Lee Witt’s bills were paid or not. President Graves said he would try to call Danette Rolen (EMAT Treasurer-Sevier County) tomorrow to check on these questions.
TEMA Director (General) Bassham asked how much the conference cost this past year, and President Graves and Bill Cooper explained how the cost of the conference was broken down. General Bassham mentioned that TEMA may be able to help this year with the conference.
He also gave an update on the WICAB (wireless communications advisory board) consulting firm to have the RFP (request for purchase) by June of 2008. General Bassham explained that TEMA is looking at the PSIC (public safety interoperable communications) Grant to install WICAB in the Knoxville area. He also explained that there were Regional Meetings on this subject for three (3) weeks in a row in February.
General Bassham mentioned the EMPG (emergency management performance grant) and explained the numbers are not out yet (meaning the money going to the counties).
He explained that he attended a conference call on NRF (national response framework) on Monday. Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA Project Officer) then gave the website as fema.gov/nrf to find this plan.
President Graves asked about local tie-in with Homeland Security and if there would be any changes in this area. General Bassham stated that he attended a briefing on critical infrastructure with Homeland Security and that we need to be more in tune with the Homeland Security guys. However, he said, any grant money questions need to go through TEMA.
It was explained that the Homeland Security Conference is the last week of February (26-28) 2008, at Paris Landing. Ms. (Kathy) Hovis (Deputy Director-Lincoln County) explained that this notification was sent to the county mayors. Ms. Zorsch stated that is where the “loophole” is (implying that not all the mayors shared this information with their emergency manager). General Bassham stated that he would try to fix that problem.
President Graves also stated that it is a problem to only send seven representatives from each district (to a Homeland Security board) and that every county should be involved, suggesting that more representatives were needed.
President Graves then talked about pending legislation and Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) explained the impact of some of the bills. Mr. Johnson and Roger Allen (Rutherford County) suggested staying in close contact with the legislators to support the bills. A motion was made, which failed, to remove the Sheriff from the wording in the bills and kill the rest. Taking the Sheriff out of the bills, according to the discussion was like declaring war on law enforcement. The feeling was that it was doubtful the bills could be changed, anyway.
Secretary Tara Simmons suggested going back to talk to our legislators and bring the subject up again at the next meeting. President Graves said the subject would be brought up again at the next meeting, then gave an update on similar legislation in Alabama.
Bill Cooper (TEMA Liaison) went over the incomplete results of a survey for future conference location and reported that Nashville is the first choice, with Chattanooga the second choice. Mr. Cooper suggested tours of the area during the next conference. He said he would bring the full results to the next meeting.
After a lengthy discussion it was decided to hold the conference in October during the first, second or fourth week. TEMA indicated that it could not participate if the conference were to be held during the third week.
Marilyn White and Tara Simmons both stated that if a survey went out to the membership that the board should go by the survey results. After some more discussion a decision was made to hold the conference in Nashville.
President Graves gave an update on the IRS 501(c)(3) application, saying that he is waiting on Treasurer Danette Rolen, who was absent, to provide some financial information. President Graves said he would get in touch with her this week.
The board went over the contact list and updated it.
President Graves said the CEMP Review Board will need to set aside some time at the next meeting to review applications.
Vice President Jody Zorsch said she had talked with Howie Rose (Roane County), and he has agreed to serve on the Legislative Committee for East Tennessee.
An Executive Board meeting was held on February 12, 2008 in Nashville with Rickey Graves presiding as President. Eugene Nichols was present as President-Elect. Secretary Simmons said there is a correction to the previous minutes, that TEMA will be unable to attend a conference during the second week of October 2008 due to previous commitments (exercises).
Ms. Gloria Lofton, a guest from VOAD, gave a brief presentation on VOAD. She gave an update on the tornados that affected five (5) counties (declared as disaster area). Ms. Loftin explained that Governor Bredesen has asked for twenty-two (22) more counties to be declared. She explained that VOAD will be holding elections on Thursday.
Mr. (James?) Williams, TEMA area coordinator, gave a brief update on the American Red Cross work in the tornado emergency. He stated that they had six (6) shelters open in Tennessee. Mr. Williams explained that the American Red Cross was actually involved in five (5) states, not just Tennessee. He stated that TEMA has set up a JFO for recovery (in Jackson), and FEMA has really moved quickly this time. [Editor’s Note: Donnie Smith served as the state PIO in this JFO.] Mr. Williams stated that the ARC was able to make a line item in the Governor’s budget for $845,000.
President Graves gave a brief update on the legislation being proposed by EMAT regarding education of local directors. He asked the Board to review and either bring comments to the next meeting or email him the comments. He also stated that a special meeting needs to be set for the legislative committee. He stated that he would like to see this legislation presented next year. Mr. Bill Cooper (TEMA Liaison) suggested to start politicking now with the legislators and insurance companies.
President Graves stated that Mr. Charlie Bryant had been named Deputy Director of TEMA. He previously served as TEMA West Regional Director.
Ms. Simmons gave an update on the hotel proposals for the 2008 Conference from Nashville and Chattanooga. It was moved and approved to go ahead and lock in on a hotel, depending on whether TEMA monies will follow, and if so, Chattanooga would be the first choice, and Nashville at Millennium Maxwell House Hotel being the second choice. Mr. Cooper stated that we (should) want to give something at this conference that you could walk away with and take it back to your county to remind them of us.
Ms. Jody Zorsch, Alternate Treasurer, stated that Mr. Jerry Fleenor was a good motivational speaker (to be considered as keynote speaker).
Mr. John Riley, Military Chairman, gave a brief update that the Armed Forces is having a one-day military conference at the end of April at Fort Campbell, Kentucky at the Sportsman Club.
Ms. Hargis, K-9 Subcommittee Chairperson, explained that East Tennessee has been training with dogs. She stated that TEMA requested help with SAR (search and rescue) with K-9 in Macon County. She reported that Ms. Heather Wilkerson responded from Lenoir City to Macon County and has submitted her fuel receipt for reimbursement. Ms. Hargis requested that EMAT K-9 to reimburse her and the motion passed.
Mr. Cooper gave an update on the AT&T Call Center. He gave the phone number for the public to call who wants to volunteer or give donations. These items are for persons with unmet needs. He suggested items needed are personal hygiene, cleaning supplies, new underwear and socks for men, women and children, etc. He said the donations are being stored at a Staging Center located at 128 Distribution Parkway, Portland, Tennessee. He expanded to describe the TEMA call center section where he was working during state emergencies and discussed the memorandum of understanding for donated funds to the Citizen to Citizen Program (100 to the victims and the money which stayed in Tennessee). He said that TEMA planned to establish an ESF 17 Business Advisory Board in the future.
Mr. Donnie Smith, now Executive Officer, TEMA, asked if WebEOC is up and running at the site, and Mr. Cooper stated that it was. He said to contact Mr. Tommy Hodge, TEMA Information Technology, and gave a telephone number for those having problems.
On March 12, 2008 President Graves gave a brief update on the EMAT- supported legislation. He explained a need to set the meeting for the Legislation Committee, and Mr. Cooper (TEMA Liaison) volunteered for the committee. The meeting was set for April 1 at 10:00 am in the Boatwright Room of the TEMA State EOC. Lieutenant Ronnie Shirley (THP) suggested that President Graves talk with Mike Zelnik (Tennessee Office of Homeland Security) about more critical infrastructure money.
Secretary Tara Simmons had an update on the conference, hotels and estimated budget for the conference. Bill Cooper gave a brief update on TEMA’s participation and explained that TEMA is waiting on the earthquake conference in West Tennessee to end so we can properly budget money for the EMAT conference. Mr. Cooper said that Mr. Gary Patterson had mentioned the possibility of some funds from the Banker’s Association for the conference if earthquake preparedness is included in the subject matter.
Mr. Cooper introduced Mr. James (Jim) Barnes who works with State 911. Shortly after, Mr. Barnes became EMAT Secretary.
Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) gave a brief update on the 501(c)(3) application and explained that once the paperwork is received, the EMAT should have approval within two months—that would be by or before the conference.
Marilyn White (Hardin County) gave a brief overview of the Hardin County February 5, 2008 tornado. President Graves gave kudos to Mr. Hogan for obtaining water heaters for tornado victims.
Edwin Hogan mentioned that there would be a Wolf Creek Dam training exercise on April 23, 2008.
President Graves suggested that CEMP be brought up for discussion in next month’s meeting.
In April 2008 President Graves announced that TEMA had just provided $60,000 for catastrophic training for EMAT members. In May, TEMA Director Jim Bassham announced severe travel restraints had been imposed on state agencies, but that funding for training would be still be provided to EMAT. As it turned out, the funds would come from the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) to offset the state fund shortfall. In September a vote was passed to create the Lacey Suitor Award. A proposal was made to extend the President’s term to two years, but President Graves indicated that he did not intend to serve a full second term.
President Graves was a close partner with TEMA during his time as president and received strong support from Director Bassham. Through project officer Donnie Smith (TEMA Executive Officer), who teamed up with the Military Department Legislative Liaison, James Dunn, information was provided to the Governor’s Office and to the legislature which shored up the Governor’s support of a new law to professionalize emergency management directors in Tennessee. President Graves met with State Representative Curtis Halford and provided important information regarding the needs of the state. Representative Halford then sponsored the proposed change, TEMA coordinated how the administration would work with the change, and the law became TCA 58-2-133 (later altered to TCA 58-2-127), defining the role of local emergency management directors, working for the mayor of the county, and most significantly requiring appointees to meet certain educational standards or to become qualified within two years. This was a significant step forward since many previous directors were appointed based purely upon political considerations and remained unqualified for the position.
By 2008 the association had adopted a nine-point purpose statement in its Constitution and By-Laws that emphasized providing a professional association for planning, mitigation, response and recovery from natural and man-made disasters, an association to liaison with local, state and federal governments and agencies in order to promote a harmonious emergency management program, an association to promote channels of communication and mutual aid between political subdivisions, an association to encourage, support and assist industry in the emergency management effort, an association to support educational and training programs to increase efficiency and capability of people, an association to increase the awareness of the public and especially persons in positions of responsibility, an association to coordinate the efforts of its members in protecting lives and property and preserve the national security, an association to evaluate and disseminate experiences, judgments and actions of emergency management specialists, and finally, an association to form a closer relationship with emergency response personnel throughout the state and serve as a clearinghouse for ideas and suggestions.
It was further stated that officers would serve for only one year and consist of a President (at-large), a President-Elect, a Secretary/Treasurer and three Vice-Presidents, one from each region conforming to TEMA’s districts (or regions). At the end of a term, the President-Elect would become the President. The Secretary/Treasurer would be appointed by the President. When a vacancy occurred in the President’s position, the President-Elect would fill it automatically; when a vacancy occurred in the President-Elect, the Executive Committee would elect one of the vice-presidents; and a vacancy of the Secretary/Treasurer or a vice-president would be filled by appointment of the President. The President-Elect would perform the duties determined by the President and would chair the CEMP Committee. Other standing committees were formed, to include the Awards and Nominations Committee (chaired by a past president), Conference Site Committee, Constitution and By-Laws Committee, Legislative Committee, Membership Committee, Public Relations Committee, Training and Education Committee and CEMP Committee. Each chairman was to serve a year.
Another individual award was established, the EMAT Achievement Award for excellence in job performance. Two media awards were established, one for print media, the other for broadcast media, for a truly outstanding job in assisting local emergency management activities. An EMAT Business and Industry Recognition Award was established for companies or their employees who support emergency management.
President Graves called the Executive Board to order on May 13, 2008 in the TEMA Executive Board Room.
General Bassham (TEMA) discussed the funding of emergency management at the State level and next year’s budget. He said that last week the Department of Personnel had passed down restrictions on travel in and out of the state. He explained that all “large group traveling” had been cancelled. He said that this would affect the seventy (70) people from TEMA planning to attend the conference. He said the association would still receive the $60,000 from CUSEC which will go to the conference. He stated that TEMA would shoot for sending ten (10) people to the conference and requested that we sit down and refigure the money for the conference (especially meals, rooms and the number of days of the conference). President Graves figured the reduction of funding would mean 1.7 rooms per county.
President Graves’ briefing covered pending legislation and asked for suggestions. Secretary Simmons reminded everyone of the next EMAT Legislation Planning Committee meeting on May 19th. President Graves asked for people to email suggestions or try to attend the next meeting.
Don Allen (Hamilton County) went over a map of Chattanooga to promote the Conference Center, the tourist attractions and events for the upcoming conference. Mr. Allen said that Senator Corker, Mayor Littlefield, State Senator Ramsey and others would be coming by to welcome everyone. Mr. Allen mentioned the possibility of a river boat with dinner and that we could possibly get a vendor to sponsor it. He said we should reserve the Pavilion across from the football stadium for a barbecue and that a vendor (First Response) would probably sponsor that.
TEMA Executive Officer Donnie Smith said he would like some time at the conference to discuss Incident Management Teams and Emergency Management Support Teams. Mr. Jeremy Heidt (TEMA PIO) said he would also like to have a block available to speak at the conference. Mr. Allen proposed Mr. Rick Lambert with the FBI as the principal speaker for an hour and 5 minutes.
John Riley said the Armed Services Conference will be at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on May 22nd.
Bill Cooper (TEMA Liaison) said that an effort needs to be made to extend the term of office of the President of EMAT so an administration can complete its agenda. He said one year is not enough time to develop programs and implement them. He said he would like to send out a survey to the membership in regard to this, and he did.
It was announced that the West Tennessee LEPC Conference will be held on August 5th and 6th, 2008.
On September 10, 2008 President Ricky Graves called the Executive Board to order and since there was no Treasurer’s Report, moved to discuss the pending bill regulating local emergency management directors. He asked for the legislation update, but Constitution & By-Laws Chairman Edwin Hogan said he does not have an update. President Graves says he gave a copy to his county attorney who said it was a great piece of legislation.
Mr. Cooper (TEMA Liaison) said the Farmers Group Insurance people will be coming to the conference. Marilyn White said her concerns were not including the other insurance companies at the conference. Mr. Cooper said they could come as a vendor. After that, Ms. White said she will set up a meeting with the TEMA Director, EMAT President and the President of Farm Bureau Insurance Company to discuss support. Charlie Bryant (TEMA) asked how the county mayors feel about this legislation, and Mr. Cooper said all he also would like to know how the EMA directors feel about it. Vice President Jody Zorsch said there are just a few from East Tennessee that do not agree with the bill. Edwin Hogan suggested going ahead and meeting with Farm Bureau. He will meet with Senator Joe Haynes and suggested that all local EMA directors talk with their county mayors. Marilyn White asked if EMAT has a representative available from MTAS/CTAS (Municipal Technical Assistance Service/County Technical Assistance Service). Mr. Cooper said we used to work with them all the time, but not so much lately. President Graves said legislation as an item will be removed from the conference agenda.
Mr. Cooper said Don Hood was having cancer surgery soon and suggested the need for a back-up plan for a speaker for the conference. Ms. Diane Pryor suggested using Amy Maxwell from Hamilton County as the EMAT PIO. Ms. Pryor said she will contact her in this regard. Mr. Cooper said we should start early on the conference for next year and try to get more participation in conference planning. He said we need subcommittees for donations, agenda, etc. Secretary Tara Simmons gave a brief summary on the participant vendors and their deposit amounts.
Chairman James Medling gave an update on three awards submitted for consideration for the conference. Edwin Hogan moved to have Jeremy Heidt, TEMA PIO review the awards and then provide his opinion for approval to Mr. Medling. The motion passed. Mr. Cooper brought up the Lacy Suiter award which has not yet been developed. Mr. Medling said he would need a written description for the award before we could proceed. Mr. Hogan asked if we could take the proposal before the whole membership to vote on it. President Graves approved this idea.
President Graves asked about an update on the application for 501(c)(3) approval, and Mr. Hogan said he has not received the financial information from Ms. Danette Rolen, the Treasurer. He said he would send it forward when it was prepared.
Bill Cooper asked Mr. Graves to serve a second term, and Mr. Graves stated that he would not want to serve an entire additional term. There were no negative comments about the proposal. A motion passed to re-elect Rickey Graves to a second term and to bring the nomination before the entire membership.
On October 8, 2008, President Ricky Graves called the Executive Board to order at the Chattanooga Convention Center at 7:40 a.m. in a regular meeting at the conference to discuss the financial statement with Treasurer Danette Rolen.
Edwin Hogan moved to elect Ricky Graves for another term as president, and the motion carried. President Graves asked the membership to break into respective groups and elect a representative from each region. After deliberation on vice presidents, the membership reported they had selected Mr. John Smoot (Benton County), Mr. Allen Lendley (Coffee County) and Ms. Jody Zorsch (Morgan County) from west, middle and east. President Graves then asked for nominations for president-elect and Janice Newman (Carroll County) was nominated. Mr. Warren Vaughn (Dickson County) was nominated as well. After a run-off vote, Ms. Janice Newman was elected.
President Graves asked if there was any old or new business, and there being none adjourned the floor meeting.
Another special meeting was called by President Graves at 8:22 a.m. to discuss whether to have Mr. Tom Harris, Attorney, prepare the accounting for 501(c)(3) at $75 per hour. The motion passed. Then during this meeting, Tera Simmons resigned as Secretary, but agreed to continue for 2-3 months until the new Secretary, Mr. James Barnes, could transition in. Immediate Past President Roger Allen was present.
On November 12, 2008, President Rickey Graves (Gibson County) called the executive board to order and introductions were made of new officers. Janice Newman was President-Elect. Allen Lindley was Middle Tennessee Vice-President and Jody Zorsch was East Tennessee Vice-President.
Chairman John Riley gave a brief update on the military conference at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Treasurer Danette Rolen gave the Treasurer’s Report. Ms. Rolen asked if the attorney had pulled any information on EMAT, and Mr. Cooper said he and Ms. Rolen are working on a new EIN number from the federal government for EMAT. Edwin Hogan said Ms. Rolen has submitted the financial information to the attorney.
Constitution and By-Laws Chairman Edwin Hogan gave an update on the presentation of EMAT legislation to the Middle Tennessee region. He felt that it had been received well and said he did not hear any negative comments. He was asked by several directors if they could get copies of the legislation. President Graves said he wanted to put a minimum salary of $35,000 into the proposed law. Ms. Zorsch said she would present the legislation on PowerPoint to the East Tennessee region in December. President Graves asked if the board wanted to go forward with the legislation in January, and Ms. Marilyn White made the suggestion to go forward. She said that this should be done regardless of the slumping economy or the change in government since disasters do not stop. Mr. Gary West, who was present, said it would be best to go ahead and submit the legislation with the sponsors.
President Graves said he will contact General Bassham to get an “EMA Day on the Hill” scheduled. Mr. West explained how the fire coalition came about and how they got a lobbyist. He suggested a class be scheduled at the next conference to show how to proceed politically. A motion was passed to proceed with the legislation in 2008-2009.
Edwin Hogan asked about funding for the legislation, and President Graves said that a meeting will need to be set up as soon as possible with Farm Bureau.
President Graves suggested that a permanent committee be established for the CEMP program to review applications submitted by members. Mr. John Riley said that CEMP is not advertised well enough for the members, and President Graves suggested that the board consider this at the next meeting.
President Graves said he had had positive feedback from the conference, and he felt it had turned out well. Mr. James Medling (Dyer County) suggested to budget next year’s conference as if EMAT has to pay for it without receiving any money from TEMA. A motion passed to create next year’s Conference Committee with Mr. Cooper, Ms. Rolen, Mr. Graves and Ms. Simmons as members, and that the conference be held around Nashville or Murfreesboro to reduce costs.
There were seven CEMP’s designated in 2008, Marilyn White (Hardin County), Edward Wolff, Brent Morse (TEMA), Chris Johnson (TEMA), Derial Bivens (TDOT ESC), David Nash (TEMA) and Jody Zorsch (Morgan County).
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We are missing the minutes from December 2008 to September 2009 due to a computer crash.]
In October of 2009, Janice Newman (of Carroll County) became President during the fall conference in Chattanooga, TN. She served actively until March 2010 but did not participate as an officer during regular board meetings after that due to her decision to run for county court clerk in Carroll County. President-Elect Jody Zorsch presided over most meetings in the latter months of the year when Janice returned to take the gavel during the conference. The fall conference took place in at the Marriott Hotel on October 6-9, 2009. This conference featured a trip on the Tennessee River in a riverboat and several other games and drawings that provided free TV’s and a free trip to Greece, although as it turned out, the winner could not take time from the job to take the trip and instead received tickets to Dollywood.
In November 2009 Legislative Chairman Ricky Graves asked for the first EMA Day on Capitol Hill.
On November 23, 2009 President Janice Newman convened the board and asked everyone to review the minutes. After the minutes were approved, Ms. Danette Rolen, Treasurer, reported that there was only $761.09 in the checking account with $24,000 of conference bills left unpaid. She stated that she would have to transfer the balance of the CD’s on hand to pay these expenses, leaving just $2,200 in the association accounts. Ms. Rolen reported that the anticipated cost of the grand prize, the trip to Greece had not been included in the expenses paid. She said there would not be sufficient funds to pay for the trip. Ms. Melisa Hucks, TEMA Finance Officer, then reviewed the hotel conference costs and the federal grant financial support and suggested that she would get together with Ms. Rolen to see if there were other conference costs that could be covered by TEMA. Secretary Jim Barnes offered a summary of expenditures for each of the last four months for review and stated that this document was requested by Mr. Tom Harris as a part of the 501(c)(3) application.
Mr. Bill Cooper, TEMA Liaison, pointed out that the vendor donations had been received for specific activities and had been earmarked for these funds, but had not come through. Mr. Cooper asked Ms. Rolen if all invoices that had recently been submitted, and she replied that they had been paid. Mr. Cooper commented that the current financial crisis was mostly caused by food costs for 351 registered attendees when the projected costs had been based on only 250 persons. He further stated that this turnout should be recognized as validation of a very successful conference and that it had increased EMAT membership substantially.
President Newman stated that the EMAT board should review the situation again at the next meeting and plan on reducing costs for the following year. Ms. Diane Pryor volunteered to maintain the budget for the next conference. A motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report was passed.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves asked to make a change in the current legislative proposal being supported by Senator Haynes to include ¼ of one percent of the revenue generated by the bill to be allowed to support the expense of an annual conference. The motion passed.
President-Elect Jody Zorsch reported on her efforts to locate a site for the upcoming 2010 conference in Gatlinburg, but nothing was available during the time desired by EMAT. President Newman provided information regarding a Kingsport offer to host the conference. Most board members thought this location would reduce membership attendance and participation. Middle Tennessee was selected as the best location for a conference to recover from the costs of the past conference. Immediate Past President Rickey Graves cautioned that the room rate would be a big consideration for attendance, and Donnie Smith, TEMA Executive Officer, requested that education be stressed in establishing the conference agenda.
President Newman called for volunteers for a Conference Committee, and received five: Jody Zorsch, Bill Brown, Marilyn White, and John Smoot. President Newman accepted these volunteers and named John Smoot as chairman.
Ms. Patsy Hargis, K-9 Subcommittee Chairperson, provided information on two successful operations by K-9 units. She stated that she frequently received questions about liability and other insurance possibilities and always told volunteers that insurance was their own responsibility. Ms. Hargis said that there had been some problems with K-9 shirts that were recently purchased. She asked about purchasing additional shirts, and Mr. Rickey Graves, Immediate Past President, suggested that this issue be tabled until next meeting; it was agreed.
Chairman John Riley, Newsletter/Military Committee Chairman, stated that the Tennessee/Kentucky conference would be in late spring and that he would provide more information as it becomes available.
President-Elect Zorsch reported that the booth that EMAT manned at the recent East Tennessee regional meeting was productive and that several people stopped by to ask questions.
President Newman opened the subject of providing all of the membership with more information regarding Executive Board activities and suggested that each meeting’s minutes be placed on the website. Mr. Donnie Smith stated that TEMA had tried this and there were several problems with the idea. He suggested that full minutes might not be appropriate (since some comments were not acceptable and sometimes inaccurate) but should be more in line with “updates and that some kind of review process be in place for general public postings.” Secretary Jim Barnes was selected to provide a copy of each meeting’s minutes to the president and that she would pass the minutes to Mr. Smith for summarization. When an appropriate summary was available, it would be transmitted to Mr. Mike Hellman, Webmaster, for posting on the website.
President Newman requested that a fixed date for future meetings be established to make it easier for everyone to plan on attending. The second Thursday of each month was selected, and the next meeting set for January 14, 2010.
In December 2009 Legislative Chairman Rickey Graves requested information on the process of preparing a bill for legislation so the EMAT Family Disaster Protection Act could be proposed. TEMA Executive Officer Donnie Smith announced the roll-out date as January 5, 2009 for activation of the Tier II report E-Plan computerized reporting system. Chairman Graves proposed to re-energize the CEMP program and established new standards for education and evaluation. Donnie Smith of TEMA began to evaluate CEMP applications, but the board continued to approve them. President Graves encouraged TEMA to begin a database to track this training and so county director education began to be tracked by the state. TEMA began to certify CEMP through its Training Directorate and to issue certificates.
Two CEMP’s were designated by the board in 2009, Donnie K. Smith (TEMA) and Ken Widener (Sumner County).
On March 11, 2010, the Executive Board met with Immediate Past President Janice Newman (Carroll County) acting as Chairman. Ms. Newman delayed the report of the Conference Committee Chairman John Smoot to the end of the meeting, and recognized TEMA Director Jim Bassham who announced a support grant of $70,000 for EMAT training. The funds are contingent on classroom presentation during the conference of TVA, DOE, HAZMAT, EMST, communications, and other type-specific training, based on the origin of the funds being used. The funds include $5000 for TEMA staff attendance. Director Bassham said the funds require an agenda and a budget in writing. He announced that TEMA support to the conference would be coordinated through Executive Officer Donnie Smith who would work more closely with EMAT this year.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves reported that Senator Haynes had withdrawn the bill supported by EMAT since it had not been adjusted to require the Comptroller to fund the bill. Although disappointed, Chairman Graves also requested the bill to be withdrawn (the bill was not withdrawn, but it was temporarily removed from consideration). Chairman Graves said a booth was set up by West Tennessee region members to provide information to lawmakers regarding the bill being proposed. A tour of the SEOC was also arranged for these supporters and to go through TEMA.
President Newman, who continued to act as Chairperson of the Membership Committee, recommended that Ms. Diane Pryor of TEMA be removed from the committee. Director Bassham had decided there would be only one point of contact between TEMA and EMAT. Mr. John Riley volunteered to become a member of this committee to replace Ms. Pryor, and it was approved.
Ms. Newman asked Ms. Patsy Hargis to present the K-9 report by teleconference, and she reported that several Bloodhound puppies had been presented to selected EMAT handlers by the Urban Search and Rescue Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. She said the dogs must be trained according to EMAT guidelines as "scent-discriminating tracking and trailing search dogs." Ms. Hargis requested that additional shirts for K-9 be postponed until the March 11 meeting.
President Newman reported that the post office box previously used by EMAT had been closed and the new mailing address would be in Pigeon Forge, TN (at the office of Danette Rolen, the EMAT Treasurer).
Ms. Marilyn White (Vendor Subcommittee Chairperson and Deputy Director, Hardeman County EMA) brought out several problems encountered by having only one person responsible for receiving all mail, especially invoices, and being handled by the one person responsible for receiving checks and deposits and sending out payments. Mr. James Medling (Dyer County) moved to have all materials sent to this address, but then adjusted his motion to arrange for a second required signature on all checks (to be the President or President-Elect). This motion was passed.
Tyler Smith, Chairman of the CEMP Committee (Putnam County EMA), said the CEMP program had been revised to stress classroom hours and address changes. CEMP Committee member Donnie Smith reported that the new on-line forms were on the EMAT web site and working well.
President Newman requested that Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County EMA) check on continuing education units or credits (CEU) for conference training. Mr. Hogan agreed to do so.
President Newman provided an e-mail from Elliot Data Systems to request being placed on the agenda for the March 11 meeting to present information that he gathered at the 2009 conference. There were no objections, and he was added to the agenda.
Mr. Hogan reported that the 501c3 application would have to be amended to include the new address of the association and financial information would be required up to December 31, 2009.
Secretary Jim Barnes, acting for the Treasurer, reported that he had received financial information from Ms. Diane Pryor (TEMA), but not from Ms. Danette Rolen, the Treasurer, for expenditures. Treasurer Rolen was not present to discuss the amount of cash on hand. Mr. Jim Barnes (Davidson County E911), Secretary, said only the treasurer knows how much the association has exactly, but he presented a summary of the year's revenue and expenditures. He said the summary did not include November and December. He reported that as of September 7, 2013, the association had $118,265.62. Vice President Brown said he believed that the Executive Board should know more about finances of the association and after considerable discussion, an Oversight Committee for Financial Affairs was established. Appointed members were John Smoot (Benton County), chairman, and members John Riley (AEDC), Jim Barnes (Davidson County 911), Paula Powers (Gibson County), and Marilyn White (Hardeman County).
Secretary Barnes asked for clarification of a motion approved by the board indicating that a copy of the Executive Board minutes be sent to every member for review and comment, and it was confirmed that this would be done before the minutes were finalized at the following board meeting.
Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA) announced that Melisa Hucks, the TEMA Finance Director, had been promoted to a position in the Department of Military (Adjutant General's Office) and that her position was officially vacant in TEMA.
Conference Committee Chairman John Smoot (Benton County) presented a briefing on the activities planned for the conference. Mr. Bill Brown (Greene County) presented a preliminary schedule of events starting at 12 Noon and ending at 12 Noon on the third day. Possible sites included a state park, but the board entered a lengthy discussion and decided on Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro as having the best facilities and services for attendees and visitors. Mr. Smoot stated that only 220 rooms would be available, but overflow could go to Hampton Inn. Projected cost was $69,000. Mr. Smoot moved to accept Embassy Suites as the conference site and to allow him to enter into an agreement with them. He said he would bring the contract to the next meeting for approval. A motion was made and carried to set the registration fee at $100 per attendee and $300 per vendor.
President Newman suggested that the board may need a nominating committee for filling vacancies, and this should be discussed at the next meeting.
[EDITOR’s NOTE: There are no records to support this entry, but by comparing other records it is apparent that President-Elect Jody Zorsch became Acting President in April. There were apparently no formal proceedings to make her the President in the official absence of President Newman. She returned to preside as President at the conference in September.
On April 8, 2010 Acting President Jody Zorsch asked if everyone had reviewed the minutes, and Secretary Jim Barnes stated that those minutes were incorrect. He passed out the corrected minutes.
There was no Treasurer's Report since Danette Rolen was with her father who had had surgery. President-Elect Bill Brown stated that the conference agenda was being firmed up, and President Zorsch said she was waiting for board approval regarding vendor notice of facilities and times. She also said she would call Conference Chairman Smoot for details and would forward the information to Ms. Marilyn White (Deputy Director, Hardeman County EMA) who asked for specifics. Discussion ensued regarding due dates for payment of registration fees with the consensus being after July 1, but early in July. Secretary Barnes was asked to search previous minutes to see if deadlines had already been established.
Membership Chairman John Riley said he had not been able to communicate with Treasurer Danette Rolen for membership lists or activity. Mr. Riley said he would be soliciting members at a veterans’ meeting later this month.
Constitution & By-Laws Chairman Edwin Hogan reported that he would have a draft of proposed changes to the by-laws by next meeting.
Mr. Hogan, acting for Chairman Ricky Graves, said that Senator Haynes had reported that a proposed bill (local director hiring and education requirements) had been pulled from consideration, but Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) who tracked legislation for TEMA said the bill still appeared to be active on his legislative list from the Governor’s Office. President-Elect Brown asked if the bill could be re-initiated with the funding requirement removed. After much discussion, President Zorsch instructed the issue to be tabled while the answer was sought, and it was scheduled for the next meeting's agenda.
Mr. Hogan said the EMAT Day on the Hill had progressed smoothly, but there needed to be more show of participation and support to get the desired legislation passed. About 10 EMAT members were in attendance, but this appeared to be a good percentage of membership compared to the other associations who also set up that day.
Secretary Jim Barnes, acting for Chairman John Smoot (Benton County EMA), stated that the Oversight Committee had been communicating by e-mail and had presented a draft of proposed operational procedures to be followed in order to have better internal control over revenue and expenditures. He said he would send out the draft to all Executive Committee members for suggestions and input by next meeting. Mr. Barnes said he could not reach Ms. Danette Rolen either and could not obtain the figures on expenditures for November and December which were needed for completion of the 501(c)3 application.
Mr. Barnes asked Mr. Hogan if he had established a post office box for EMAT yet, and Mr. Hogan replied that he was waiting on authority from the Executive Committee.
CEMP Committee member Donnie Smith provided Chairman Tyler Smith with two certificates to be signed by Janice Newman as president and then mailed them to the members: Kenneth Garner, CEMP, and Benjamin Barrett, EM-2. Mr. Smith announced that the training provided at the EMAT Conference had been declared eligible for credit toward CEMP and that TEMA would print the certificates upon completion by conference attendees. President-Elect Brown moved to have a training certificate printed for all eligible attendees at the conference and to have it ready to be presented after the last training session. This motion passed.
Secretary Barnes reported that Ms. Patsy Hargis had telephoned her report to him and that the K-9 Subcommittee was working with recently acquired puppies. She asked that the purchase of more shirts for K-9 be postponed until the next meeting. This was presented as a motion and passed.
Acting President Zorsch said that Elliott Data Systems, Inc. had planned to present their conference findings this meeting, but he asked for them to be delayed until next meeting. No one objected, and it was added to the agenda for May.
Marilyn White (Deputy Director, Hardeman County), Vendor Subcommittee Chairperson, opened a discussion of the EMAT web site and complained that it needed to be updated with more current information. She also said the web site is not being routinely maintained. Mr. Tyler Smith said the webmaster only made changes directed by the Executive Committee, so everyone was requested to examine the web site and be prepared to submit suggestions to get caught up at the next meeting.
On June 10, 2010, Acting President Jody Zorsch called the meeting to order and introduced Mr. Jason Rezabek and Mr. Chris Henson for a presentation on their digital tracking results in the 2009 conference. Ms. Marilyn White, vendor subcommittee chairperson, offered that the August LEPC conference in West Tennessee be used for a trial run to test the revised procedures at the conference. President-Elect Bill Brown said he had heard several comments about not being counted for class credit on activities at the conference. Mr. Rezabek provided the board members with a copy of the computer- calculated attendance activity at the 2009 conference, after which a lengthy discussion ensued.
Conference Chairman John Smoot suggested that changed duties for the conference be worked out before the conference (rather than have them assigned at the conference).
President Zorsch tabled the digital attendance issue saying that activities and the 2010 schedule needed to be firmed up before further work on digitization.
Since Treasurer Danette Rolen could not be present, she sent a report through Jody Zorsch showing there was $28,136.41 in the EMAT account as of May 31st. Ms. White, vendor subcommittee chairperson, asked if the trip to Greece (which was a door prize at the conference) had been deducted from the balance. No one knew (it had not).
Membership Chairman John Riley said he still had not been able to communicate with Treasurer Danette Rolen to obtain membership lists or activity. President Zorsch said she is helping the Treasurer and is almost ready to send out conference budget material. Secretary Barnes asked whether the revised fees were discussed with her, that is, the $50 membership and $100 conference fee. Mr. Smith questioned the conference fee for vendors which is budgeted for $375 and yet the Treasurer was reporting the fee as $300. President-Elect Bill Brown moved to reaffirm the conference registration fee at $100 and the board passed the motion to confirm that amount. Conference Committee Chairman Smoot reported that the Treasurer was handling the printing of the conference brochure and it should be sent out by June 30th.
Communications, By-Laws & TARS Committee Chairman Edwin Hogan said he would have a draft of proposed by-laws changes at the next meeting.
TEMA Liaison Donnie Smith, Legislative Committee member, acting for Chairman Rickey Graves, reported that the General Assembly had adjourned and their actions at the end of the session resulted in passing a tax law to grant some tax relief privileges to flood victims.
He also reported there had been some changes to the interstate EMAC (emergency management assistance compact) which were applicable to all states.
Secretary Barnes said the purchasing ability of municipal government had been changed to more closely resemble local education agencies.
There had not been any action on the local director education bill, but it was still active (and on the Governor’s watch list).
Awards Committee Chairman James Medling said he needed nominees for awards being mailed to be received no later than August 16 and that the deadline should be announced in the conference brochure.
Oversight Committee Vice Chairman Jim Barnes presented a draft of proposed operational procedures to be followed by the Treasurer and other board members for finances. These procedures would provide better internal controls over revenue and expenditures. Committee Chairman Smoot commented that there were a lot of time factors and delays in financial information and that someone needs to be held responsible. Mr. Smoot stated that the Executive Committee (sic) [Board] should be the approval level to pay bills and that the board needs financial statements from the Treasurer, not just the bank statement. Ms. Marilyn White, vendor subcommittee chairperson, said the draft fiscal control guidance looks "pretty good."
She asked Mr. Hogan if he would accept mailbox duties (he agreed).
President-Elect Bill Brown said there may be a problem with debit cards and the authority to use them. A motion was passed to have the Oversight Committee meet and make recommendations for procedures by the next meeting.
Secretary Barnes said he had not obtained expenditure statements for November and December 2009 which are required to complete the 501(c)3 application for the IRS filing by Mr. Hogan and the CPA. He further stated that since the current fiscal year is nearly over, the application may as well now include the entire fiscal year of 2010.
CEMP Committee Chairman Tyler Smith said no new applications have been received. Mr. James Jarrett (Lauderdale County) asked for a summary of the CEMP process and Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison and committee member) provided one to him. Mr. Jarrett suggested promoting the CEMP program in the counties (since most directors do not know the process for an application), and this was discussed at length with no motion forthcoming.
Mr. Smith also stated that the web site domain was up for renewal and needed to be updated. President Zorsch suggested frequent updates of the web site and that the association should consider obtaining more space or memory storage. Ms. Patsy Hargis suggested that some pictures could be deleted to save space. A motion was passed to renew the web site for one year.
Conference Committee Chairman John Smoot said he was meeting with the new coordinator for Embassy Suites after the Executive Board meeting and would confirm the agreement and working relationship. TEMA Liaison Donnie Smith said the conference agenda is still being adjusted by TEMA and although still flexible, a tentative agenda has been published and provided to the board. Ms. Marilyn White, vendor subcommittee chairperson, said she needed this schedule as soon as possible to communicate the conference agenda to vendors.
On July 8, 2010 Acting President Jody Zorsch called the Executive Board to order and reported a balance of $27,981.41 in the bank as of June 30, 2010. President-Elect Bill Brown questioned a check to Bill Cooper (TEMA Logistics), and it was determined that it was to reimburse him for the purchase of golf shirts for EMAT. Ms. Danette Rolen reported that she had received a direct billing from the Chattanooga Marriott that did not require any action (the assumption being that it had already been paid). Treasurer Rolen said she had received an application for a “Sam’s Card,” and after discussion, the board decided not to obtain this card. The Treasurer’s Report was approved.
Membership Chairman Danette Rolen reported that $1200 in membership fees had been deposited through June 30th. President Jody Zorsch stated that the membership packets (to apply or extend) went out the previous week. VOAD Committee Chairman John Riley asked if it would be OK if he sent a letter to solicit members from the ranks of his committee and no one objected. President-Elect Brown asked how many local EMA directors were “not members of EMAT,” and Ms. Rolen responded that about 30 directors were not members.
Legislative Committee Chairman Ricky Graves moved to send out a key chain with the membership cards, and the motion passed.
Then Chairman Graves reported that the “Florida bill” had passed (in the state of Florida), and the results look promising (in Tennessee). Chairman Graves apparently assumed the members knew the contents of the bill and did not describe its features. He said he had been in contact with both legislative and insurance representatives and that this year promised to be the best chance for the bill to be accepted. Both Republicans and Democrats seemed to be willing to support the bill, he said. Chairman Graves stated that he would have a suggestion (of a date) for the EMAT Day on the Hill for 2011 by next meeting.
Secretary Jim Barnes reported that Awards Committee Chairman James Medling had e-mailed a notification that he could not attend the meeting. There was no report.
Secretary Barnes asked if anyone had a suggestion regarding the draft of the proposed operational procedures for finance that he had e-mailed to board members. Mr. Graves stated that there should be a maximum limit on the amount anyone could purchase. Discussion ensued regarding the process of obtaining two or more signatures on checks and what it would require for board authorization to make a purchase. Treasurer Danette Rolen stated that some kind of emergency purchase authority may (would) be necessary when at least two authorized committee members could not be found and asked if phone authorization was acceptable. Discussion ensued on obtaining an accounting package to keep the books for EMAT. Paula Powers (Gibson County) stated that QuickBooks could be shared and used to generate purchase orders and reports. As the discussion was concluded, Secretary Barnes was directed by Acting President Zorsch to re-work the proposed procedures just approved by discussion and to bring the draft to the next meeting.
Ms. Patsy Hargis, Chairman of the K-9 Subcommittee, reported that new shirts were finally purchased for K-9 team members. She requested that awards be presented to Richard Taylor (TEMA district coordinator for lower East Tennessee) and his K-9 “Buddy,” and for Anthony Lashbough (volunteer handler) and “Ruby.” President Zorsch signed the awards, and Ms. Hargis said she would make the presentation.
Conference Committee Chairman John Smoot said he had met with the new Embassy Suites conference coordinator to review the contract to keep everything on track. Conference materials were sent out with a deadline for registration of August 9th. Chairman Smoot said overflow rooms are designated and that Embassy Suites will coordinate the overflow. He said board members should arrive for the conference on Sunday in order to make last minute preparations and adjustments. Shirts with the EMAT logo were discussed, and Acting President Zorsch said these shirts are to be worn by the board officers (black on Monday, red on Tuesday, and blue on Wednesday). President Zorsch authorized new members of the board to purchase the required shirts. A discussion ensued regarding meals for non-registered attendees with the conclusion that lunch tickets could be purchased for $25 and dinner tickets could be purchased for $35 for any person who had not paid the registration fee. Receipt of payment for the tickets should be sent not later that the registration deadline of August 9th. This would allow for enough food to be ordered and to be available. Ms. Rolen said she would announce this again in her registration acceptance notification.
Vendor Subcommittee Chair Marilyn White (Hardeman County) reported that she had the vendor registration form prepared notifying vendors of the conditions and circumstances in the vendor area. Discussion ensued regarding vendor activities and fees. A motion was passed to raise the vendor registration fee to the amount established last year, $375.
TEMA Liaison Donnie Smith confirmed that the conference agenda is full and that speakers have been assigned, but the lineup can still be adjusted if required. After the discussion it was decided that no paid speakers would be needed for either the luncheons or dinners.
Acting President Zorsch initiated a discussion regarding gifts and awards. It was moved and approved to limit the amount paid to session speakers to approximately $12 per speaker with a maximum of $20 for non-state employees or special circumstances. A motion was made and approved to obtain a gift for the outgoing president, Janice Newman, at the cost of last year’s gift. President Zorsch said that door prizes were being solicited and collected, and that she had prepared a survey form to be included in the registration materials to obtain input and comments to help planning for the 2011 conference. She also initiated a discussion regarding the registration packages and gifts to be handed out to attendees. She presented samples and advertisements of token gifts. A motion was passed to purchase lighted key chains, pen knives and silver key chains as gifts for inclusion in the registration bags.
Conference Committee Chairman Smoot said he had received a complaint from a member that the web site was not current. Everyone agreed that the web site should be worked on, but no motions were made, and no action was taken.
During the fall conference in 2010 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, James Barnes resigned from the Secretary position and left the office vacant.
At 12:40 pm, President Janice Newman, who had arrived in Chattanooga to attend the conference, called the Executive Board to order and discussed preparations for the Chattanooga Conference. The Treasurer’s Report showed $27,981.41 in the bank. There appeared to be nothing to report from the Constitution and By-Laws Committee although there was some work going on to re-word some of the language of the changes being proposed. The Membership Committee Chairman reported 180 members, plus 100 TEMA members making membership a total of 280, or nearly 300 as the minutes read. The Legislative Committee Chairman reported that we were advised by the sponsor to take the funding requirement out of the proposed bill for EMA qualification although State Farm Insurance is supposedly in support. The Conference Committee Chairman reported that the exercise has been canceled at the conference, and a video will be run in its place.
The election of officers resulted in the nomination of Bill Brown (Greene County) as President-Elect, Alan Lawson (Knox County) as Vice President-East Region, Jimmy Floyd (Coffee County) as Vice President-Middle Region, and Ron Watkins (Henry County) as Vice President-West Region.
Acting President (again) Jody Zorsch called the executive board to order on August 18, 2010 at the SEOC in Nashville, TN, but turned the meeting over to President Newman when she arrived. The minutes were reviewed and approved.
The Treasurer’s report was presented by Jody Zorsch, and she reported that there was a $32,631.88 balance as of August 16, 2010. Ms. Marilyn White, vendor subcommittee chairperson, asked about the process to obtain stamps for vendor mail-outs. She was informed by Ms. Zorsch to just buy them and present the receipt to Treasurer Danette Rolen for reimbursement.
Conference Chairman Smoot (Benton County) asked for a head count on registration, and Ms. Zorsch said there are now 94 persons who are registered for the conference, representing 44 counties. Ms. Marilyn White said there were 18 people from 10 vendors who had registered. Ms. Zorsch confirmed that five percent of the reserved rooms not needed could now be dropped without penalty (with a deadline of September 13th). Mr. Donnie Smith, Registration Subcommittee Chairman, reported on room deposits that had been received and stated that the conference reminder notices were still being mailed to the counties and regions. Ms. Zorsch presented a list of board members who had confirmed their intent to attend the conference.
She announced colors of the EMAT logo shirts for days selected and stated that shirts could still be purchased, if needed.
President-Elect Zorsch said token gifts had been ordered, and Mr. Smoot asked if there were any other issues or items to be included. Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) reported that the initial EMAT history brochure had been accomplished and that CEMP Chairman Tyler Smith has the CEMP materials for the conference.
Mr. Bill Brown said he had just received two requests from vendors to be added to the agenda, but that he had told them the agenda was set and time was not available for the change. Mr. Brown said that First Response wanted to provide a hospitality room and discussion ensued without any action or motion. Since, it was so late, it was suggested that First Response negotiate with the hotel directly regarding the hospitality room.
Ms. Marilyn White reported that she was looking for additional vendors and asked about vendor space in the parking lot so additional booths could be set up. After discussion, it was decided that the vendors who had paid for an inside booth could use four parking spaces outside to set up an additional booth. Any vendor without an inside booth would have to pay a full vendor registration fee to obtain authority to use any outside space.
There was no report from the CEMP Committee, and Mr. James Medling asked if the CEMP program could run through the University of Tennessee. Ms. Marilyn White explained that this had been discussed a couple of years ago, and a problem came up about EMAT having no representation in CTAS or MTAS (which UT sponsors) and would use for support. Mr. Donnie Smith stated that these groups stressed education and cooperation, but Mr. Ricky Graves said EMAT needs representation in the decision-making process, however, no action resulted.
Mr. Medling said he had received one nomination for the Hyder Award, but there was little justification for the award and without additional information to warrant this level of award, he opposed it. He suggested an Achievement Award be substituted, and the board approved. A motion was made and carried to approve an Achievement Award.
Membership Chairman Jody Zorsch reported that there are now 146 members, and that membership cards will be mailed out with key chains.
Ms. Zorsch stated that she would also prepare a notice to Charlie Via who had just inquired about membership. She said she would handle his membership card.
Mr. Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) said a check was being cut for 100 TEMA staff members (membership), and a list of names would be provided after revision to be submitted later.
Mr. Edwin Hogan, Constitution and By-Laws Committee, submitted a written report on changes in by-laws, although he was not physically present. (A copy was not included in the minutes).
James Barnes of the Oversight Committee presented a draft of proposed operational procedures and stated that it was a very limited scope of procedures requiring mail handling and bill paying. Ms. Janice Newman asked everyone to review the document for discussion at the next meeting. Ms. Newman requested everyone to be prepared for a long meeting in September to work on legislation, by-laws and operations.
K-9 Subcommittee Chairperson Patsy Hargis reported that our K-9 reputation and standing in the state is very good. She recently had a meeting with Chief Mike Franklin and Chief S. Halford at the Nashville Fire Department regarding procedures for requesting K-9 services and going through TEMA’s EOC for scheduling and tracking services. The Executive Committee agreed that TEMA should be the control point for K-9 activities in an emergency. Ms. Hargis asked in EMAT liability coverage could be extended to cover K-9 volunteers or if another option exists to provide liability and medical insurance for volunteers. Ms. Newman asked how many might be eligible, and Ms. Hargis replied that 29 handlers were certified. Ms. Newman said that she would check with the EMAT carrier of insurance for the cost and types of coverage that might be eligible.
A motion was received and approved to authorize payment of expenses for the conference connected to shirts, registration and speaker gifts, printing of survey forms and postage stamps for mail-outs.
On October 1, 2010 the Treasurer reported that EMAT had $28,217.89 in the bank on January 31, 2010 and by May 31, 2010 had $27,981.41. On November 30, 2010 the association had $38,975.41 in the account (even though the report is dated October 1, 2010).
On October 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm, President Janice Newman called a special Executive Board meeting to discuss the award of a trip to Greece which occurred in the last conference. She said the winner of the grand prize was Betty Hamby, but she was not given any information from EMAT (or a packet) regarding the particulars of the trip and did not get any material concerning the trip until January (over three months later, apparently past the “use or lose” date). When she e-mailed the travel agency, they returned the e-mail (essentially refusing to honor the trip) to Bill Cooper (TEMA Liaison) and Diane Pryor (TEMA). After a great deal of discussion, the board recommended another gift, and a motion was passed that Ms. Hamby be given in lieu of the trip to Greece four season passes to Dollywood in addition to nights at the Norma Dan Motel in Pigeon Forge, TN.
President-Elect Bill Brown convened the board on November 10, 2010 and began to discuss the financial situation of the association. It was reported that Danette’s money (Treasurer) and John Smoot’s figures (Chairman, Oversight Committee) do not match. Making the situation worse EMAT was told by Embassy Suites that they must pay for rooms that were “no-shows.” There were 17 “no-shows,” which is $2,142.00. There were 85 meals for lunch and 176 meals for dinner. Chairman Smoot said he would double check with the hotel on the billing. Mr. Smith identified four breaks, and TEMA could pay for those. TEMA Fiscal was already working to close the bill out.
General Bassham said that he had had a conversation with the TEMA staff about EMAT and the conference, and he wants the board to realize that TEMA thinks EMAT is “really important.” There was a lot of feedback from the last conference saying there is too much TEMA at the conference, but the membership never realized how much TEMA support was required. General Bassham wanted the board to understand that when TEMA funded the conference, the fund source must match the training provided and this stream could not be changed from that source. He said that for the health of EMAT, a look needs to be taken of the membership and the participation at the conference. He said EMAT has work to do and needs to plan on what it wants the association to look like five years from now. Marilyn White (Hardin County) suggested EMAT meetings in each region, putting minutes on the web site and sending a copy to the members of the association, not just the board. The association was requested to review its customer service and see what it was giving the membership.
The Conference Committee revised its numbers and said 215 meals were served at lunch on the fifth and 176 meals for dinner. A total of 196 members attended the opening ceremony and 156 were present for the session on the fifth. Only 126 came in on Wednesday morning. Deposits from early registration were mixed, but membership and registration took in $18,000. Chairman Smoot recommended that next year, membership renewals go out a couple of months prior to the conference so separating the receipts will be easier. Chairman Smoot recommended sending the representatives from Crockett County a bill for the cost of their room since they were a no-show. It was reported that vendors brought in $16,690.00.
Donnie Smith (TEMA Liaison) reported that he had put together an operational guide for future conferences so we won’t have to re-learn every lesson each year. There is already a rough guide in draft, and it could be sent to the board for review.
Edwin Hogan, By-Laws Committee Chairman, said the association is a chartered organization, but not yet a 501(c)(3) yet. He wanted to know if we are filing with the state, and Treasurer Danette Rolen said yes. He said emergency managers are not yet declared as first responders, but we need to do an actuarial study to see what the financial implications of that would be. He recommended going through each county commission. The 501(c)(3) requirement is a balance sheet for every month, a budget every year and an annual audit. This should make it easier to get donations, however.
A discussion ensued highlighting the pros and cons of being a 501(c)(3) organization. Chairman Hogan said he would like to have an attorney to work on the application and to go over the financials with the Treasurer. The budget should be from July 1 to June 30. He said we now need to do a budget for the 2010-2011 time frame to get caught up on the requirement for application.
The discussion then turned to a dress code for emergency managers. Apparently, the West Tennessee EMA Director’s Association wants a standardized uniform for all directors. Early suggestions include dark gray or black jacket with a new EMA logo on it.
Tyler Smith (Putnam County) has resigned as CEMP chairman (due to the added demands of twins at home), and the file cabinet has been turned over to Immediate Past President Jody Zorsch for the time being. Donnie Smith presented a nomination for Charles Via to be recognized as an EM-1 and the motion passed. Jody will send out a certificate and letter of congratulations. There is one more application in the review process.
It was stated that the West Tennessee directors believe the CEMP process is more complicated now, and they are not clear on what is being required for the CEMP. There are problems with the scenario and there is a different scenario for each level (although this is intentional). There is also a perception that an actual event cannot be used as qualification (which is not true). People are complaining that they cannot meet the new standards, so the board thought a review is needed to determine if a change needs to be made.
Ricky Graves, chairman of the Legislative Committee, said that we have taken advice from the legislature and are looking to take the funding requirement out of the proposed legislation for director education. We propose to press forward to require minimum EMA qualifications and will put out information at the regional directors’ meetings. He said State Farm insurance is still with us on this legislation. He thinks we will have a law this next year. He said there will be an EMA Day on the Hill this year and directors are encouraged to come.
Patsy Hargis, K-9 subcommittee chairperson, said that K-9 handlers are doing a field test and evaluators are being requested to review all their training records. Two new handlers have been deployed twice. Richard Taylor (TEMA area coordinator) and K-9 “Buddy” have been sent in on a search in Bradley County, and they will be given a certificate of recognition. She said K-9 handlers work out of their own pocket since they are volunteers and are not part of any organization. The fact that EMAT credentials them is a source of pride for the K-9 members. The 501(c)(3) process may help civilian handlers since the money they spend could be used to reduce their taxes. The K-9 Task Force is both EMAT and federal credentialed. She said K-9 teams are brought under EMAT liability if they are dispatched by TEMA and recognized by EMAT. She said they are covered by insurance with no additional fee. VFIS asked if K-9 teams are members of EMAT, and they are. This places them under the $1 million liability and errors and omissions insurance. A motion was passed to place K-9 under EMAT insurance at no additional cost.
Vice President-Middle Region Jimmy Floyd (Tullahoma EMA) gave a presentation on a possible new website and the new things it could do for us. Mike Hillman is the current webmaster. He showed a slide of mtars.org and what the web site could do, including mass mailing to members that sign up for the option. It could post newsletters and so forth on the site. It would also allow members-only discussions and other possibilities. He recommended a company called QTH for $59.40 a year for 1 GHz of hosting, which, he said, we would probably never exceed. A motion passed to move EMAT to QTH with Jimmy Floyd as the lead.
One of the items brought up about membership in EMAT is what is the value? The board then set a goal of trying to do more things for members. At the conference the board looked at a pocket calculator which could be gifted to members at Christmas. Discussion them moved to purchase a date book for members, vendors and, additionally, enough for the executive board to hand out to legislators at the EMA Day on the Hill. A motion passed to purchase 400 calculators and the cost of postage. A motion then passed to purchase the same number of date books and calendars as well.
On November 30, 2010 Executive Administration Officer Donnie K. Smith, TEMA, sent a memorandum to the TEMA Finance Officer, Andrea Fenwick, recommending payment of $70,000 (grant) for allowable expenses to EMAT (as billed) for the training conference in 2010. Expenses were shown as $72,328.38, but the grant could not be exceed the cap of $70,000. There were other rooms or persons not allowable which were detailed specifically in an attachment. This meant that EMAT was responsible to pay these expenses, a total of $2,328.38 or alternatively, seek reimbursement from the person or persons who did not follow the guidelines (thus not meeting the criteria for payment by the state.
On December 2, 2010 the Executive Board was called to order by Immediate Past President Jody Zorsch (Morgan County). Later, President Bill Brown (Greene County) came in and then appointed Janet Kelley (Hickman County) as Secretary. (The sign-in incorrectly shows Jody as President, Bill Brown as President-Elect and Janice Newman as Immediate Past President.) Officers are shown as Alan Lawson-VP East (Knox County), Jimmy Floyd-VP Middle (Coffee County), Ron Watkins-VP West (Henry County), Ricky Graves-Chair, Legislative (Gibson County), Danette Rolen-Treasurer (Sevier County)-not present, Patsy Hargis-K9 Chair-not present, James Medling-Chair, Awards (Dyer County)-not present, Rudy Moore-Chair, LEPC (McNairy County), Paula Powers-Chair, EMA Training and Operations (Gibson County), John Riley, Chair, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters/Military/ National Guard (Coffee County), Donnie Smith-TEMA Exec Admin Officer, John Smoot-Chairman for CEMP (Benton County), Marilyn White-EMA (Hardin County), Tyler Smith-Chairman for Homeland Security (Putnam County) and Ken Weidner-Member, CEMP (Sumner County).
After reviewing the Treasurer’s Report, several members had questions and Danette Rolen was contacted by phone. A question was raised about a payment of $25,000 to Embassy Suites without a proper invoice. Secretary Rolen said this was a good faith payment towards a $40,000 invoice she had been presented by Embassy Suites that was now nearly 60 days old. The invoice by Embassy Suites was incorrect and had charges that were not incurred by EMAT so payment had been delayed by the state (TEMA). Chairman John Smoot, Conference Chairman, said he had been working with the hotel to correct the errors made at the front desk (without success). This “good faith” payment caused another issue to arise, and that is that there would be an overpayment when the correct invoice was submitted by the hotel to State of Tennessee (since the state would pay all valid expenses directly to the hotel when the invoice was finally approved). It was re-stated that TEMA has agreed to pay a grant of $70,000 of the allowable costs, and a copy of the memorandum stating this was given to members of the board. The memo shows reimbursements that TEMA will not cover (on page 3) which was announced before the conference. The board was upset that these exclusions are just now becoming visible to them. Issues that precluded payment were the attendance at the conference of county volunteers who were officially carried as employees of the county attended the conference, there were hotel errors listing names of guests incorrectly carried as members of the association, there were charges for late cancellations and charges for no-shows. Some of these were unresolved EMAT errors, such as Rex Humphrey (a 911 attendee) who was attending as a substitute and John Thomas (a Department of Transportation ESC) whose conference fee was waived by EMAT since he was a member of the SEOC. These, according to Donnie Smith, would be paid by the State, but the issued check would exceed the amount due to the hotel (an excess of $25,000 due to the “good faith” payment). Mr. Smith said he would try to reconcile these errors and did correct authorized expenses.
K-9 Subcommittee Chairperson Patsy Hargis reported that training of bloodhounds is going well with new training every week in a different location. She thanked the association for extending their approval of insurance coverage for K-9 handlers and requested a copy of this coverage to be sent to her. Janice Newman said that the Steve Frost Agency would send her a copy of the coverage.
Vendor Subcommittee Chairperson Marilyn White presented the board with a spreadsheet of the 2010 vender information and stated that we should have a policy of how we take care of the vendors. She said she had problems with vendors being told one thing on one day and another thing by someone else on the next day. Donnie Smith said, to avoid this in the future the issue has been addressed in the conference operations guide so that EMAT officers can be trained and copies handed out at preparatory meetings. The operations guide also addresses other conference issues (problems) that come up every year with its solution and if anyone needs a guide he will see they get it.
Edwin Hogan (Cheatham County) stated that attorney used by EMAT could not attend this meeting, but he presented a detailed description of the steps that needed to be taken to complete the process of application for IRS tax-exempt status. EMAT corporation status was dissolved on February 5, 2010 due to no annual report being filed. He said it is not just an issue of paying $20 to be reinstated, but the association must send in a current list of board members and answer a number of other questions. The attorney recommends that we file a tax-exempt status as of December 31, 2010 and hire someone to help get the financial reports in order. A question was then posed by the board asking if we must show a zero balance at the end of the year for filing, but the attorney said this was not required, nor do we have to show the amount committed to be spent for items or programs.
President Bill Brown moved to use Ms. Valerie Brier (CPA) as recommended by the attorney to assist in bringing the financial records to a current status and prepare the documents for 501(c)(3) filing. This will cost $500. The motion carried.
in regard to the corporation paperwork, Jody Zorsch said she would get in touch with Danette Rolen to take care of getting the background records for filing.
President Brown asked Chairman Hogan to see what Ms. Brier would charge to handle EMAT accounting annually.
Changing the EMAT mailing address was discussed and proposed to be changed to make it easier to take care of business. It is currently at Pigeon Forge, TN.
By-Laws Chairman Jimmy Floyd moved to have the committee chairs appoint those they want to work for them on the committee after the president appoints the chairmen. The motion carried.
Chairman Floyd is ready to move forward with the new website for EMAT, but he has not been able to get a $59.20 check to be sent to web site. He will continue to work with the treasurer to try to get this done.
State representatives, according to Chairman Graves, would like us to pick two days for the EMAT Day on the Hill to see their legislator and either February 9 or February 23 is recommended.
President Brown said that board members are extremely sympathetic and understanding regarding the personal issues of the Treasurer, it is extremely important that the Treasurer, Danette Rolen, attend the scheduled meetings. Without her presence, President Brown said that conducting business is extremely difficult.
Discussion topics for next meeting will be corporation status, the corrected Embassy Suites invoice, conference operations guide, 501(c)(3) issues and hiring of Valerie Brier, by-laws updates, mailbox placement, committee member appointments and finalization of the EMA Day on the Hill schedule.