By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
An agreement to provide disaster response services will have the Town of Coaldale and Lethbridge County sharing a director of emergency management.
During their regular Feb. 14 meeting, Lethbridge County council were asked to appoint a director of emergency management.
“As a result of Lethbridge County entering into agreement with the Town of Coaldale to provide disaster response services, which technically became effective Feb. 1 of this year, the new director of emergency management — otherwise known as DEM for short — needs to be appointed,” said Larry Randle, director of community services.
According to section 11.2 of the province’s Emergency Management Act, “(1) A local authority shall establish and maintain, subject to the regulations, an emergency management agency to act as the agent of the local authority in exercising the local authority’s powers and duties under this Act. (2) There shall be a director of the emergency management agency.”
Additionally, since the county has entered into an agreement with Coaldale, administration recommended that they appoint, train and equip at least two deputy DEMs, to ensure they are well covered in emergencies situations.
The deputies need to be trained in Basic Emergency Management, Incident Command System (ICS) 300 and take the Director of Emergency Management Course within 18 months of their appointment.
The courses are provided by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency at no cost to the participants, but will require a few days of their time to attend.
However, those recommended for appointment have already completed the majority of the training requirements.
Administration recommended that council pass two motions: that the appointment of Larry Randle as DEM be rescinded and that Clayton Rutberg of the Town of Coaldale be appointed as DEM for Lethbridge County, effective Feb. 1, 2019; and that the county’s senior management team of CAO Ann Mitchell, Randle, director of corporative services Tracy Anderson and director of municipal services Rick Bacon be appointed as deputy DEMs.
“The Town of Coaldale currently has three (deputy DEMs), just for contrast or comparison,” said Randle.
“There are no real negative connotations or risks in having more then one deputy director of emergency management, and again, having four, I think, at any given time, it would be almost certain that one of the four — who are recommended to be appointed — be available in town. You know, even if we were in the height of summer, people are on vacation as so on, we should be covered there.”
Randle added that although they are appointing Rutberg as DEM, he would not become an employee of the county. Rutberg would remain an employee of the Town of Coaldale.
“It’s just a service agreement, and it’s essentially as simply as that.”
Coun. Steve Campbell asked if it was “the way it was in the past” to have the members of the county’s senior management team act as deputy DEMs. Randle replied yes, although they didn’t have as many deputies appointed.
“We had the previous emergency services coordinator, who was designated as the director of emergency management, myself as a deputy, and I believe my two director colleagues (Anderson and Bacon) here, but I don’t think it included the CAO in the past,” said Randle.
“Maybe we’re just upping it by wanting, again, to give this broader coverage and more certainty that someone will be available and trained and ready to respond in the event that there is an emergency.”
Council unanimously passed motions to rescind the appointment of Larry Randle as DEM and appoint Clayton Rutberg of the Town of Coaldale as DEM for Lethbridge County, effective Feb. 1, 2019, and to appoint the county’s senior management team — consisting of Mitchell, Randle, Anderson and Bacon — as deputy DEMs.
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