Current through 2019-2020 Chapter 468
Section 38-3-27 - Local organizations for emergency management; creation; structure; powers; directors; appointment, qualifications, and compensation; state to provide financial assistance; entitlement for funding(a)(1) The governing body of each county of this state may establish a local organization for emergency management in accordance with the state emergency management plan and program. If a county fails to establish an organization for emergency management in accordance with the state emergency management plan and program, any municipality in such county may establish its own organization for emergency management. In cases where a county has an organization for emergency management, such organization shall include participation by each city within the county unless the governing authority of any particular city elects to implement its own organization for emergency management. Any two or more of the above-mentioned political subdivisions may, with the approval of the director, contract with each other so as to form one emergency management organization for the entire area included in the bounds of the contracting political subdivisions. The executive officer or governing body of the political subdivision is authorized to nominate a local director to the director of emergency management who shall have the authority to make the appointment. The local director shall have direct responsibility for the organization, administration, and operation of the local organization for emergency management, subject to the direction and control of the executive officer or governing body and shall serve at the pleasure of such executive officer or governing body. Each local organization for emergency management shall perform emergency management functions within the territorial limits of the political subdivision within which it is organized and, in addition, shall conduct such functions outside of such territorial limits as may be required pursuant to Article 1, this article, and Article 3 of this chapter.(2) A local director appointed pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection who is paid a salary for full-time service as a director by the political subdivision or political subdivisions shall have the following minimum qualifications: (A) The director shall be at least 21 years of age;(B) The director shall not have been convicted of a felony. The executive officer or governing body of a political subdivision which nominates a local director shall furnish the director of emergency management two sets of fingerprints of the nominee. The director of emergency management shall forward fingerprints received concerning each nominee to the Georgia Crime Information Center of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of criminal identification through the fingerprint system of identification established by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the fingerprint system of identification established by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia Crime Information Center shall report the findings of its records search and the records search of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the director of emergency management;(C) The director shall have completed a high school education or its equivalent and shall have successfully completed all initial courses required by the director of emergency management within 180 days following the date of nomination to office or within an extended period as determined by the director of emergency management and shall have successfully completed subsequent courses required by the director of emergency management within an appropriate period as determined by the director of emergency management;(D) The director shall be capable of writing plans for responding to and recovering from disasters in his jurisdiction and shall be routinely available to respond to emergency scenes, command posts, or operation centers; to coordinate emergency response of public and private agencies and organizations; to attend training; and to attend meetings convened by the appointing authority or the director of emergency management; and(E) The director shall not be self-employed or have any other occupation in the private sector which conflicts with his duties as a local director.(3) (A) If a local director appointed pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection is a part-time director, such part-time director shall meet the minimum qualifications in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of paragraph (2) of this subsection. If such local director is employed under a 40 to 90 percent (time required on job) work contract, such local director shall be required to devote at least 80 hours per month on emergency management matters but not more than 30 hours in any one week during normal business hours of other county offices. If such local director is employed under a 25 to 39 percent (time required on job) work contract, such local director shall be required to devote at least 40 hours per month on emergency management matters but not more than 15 hours in any one week during normal business hours of other county offices.(B) If the part-time paid director is also a part-time paid employee of the federal or state government, he must have written authorization from the appropriate appointing authority to hold the position of director and to comply with the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of this subsection.(C) If the part-time paid director is also a part-time paid employee of county or municipal government in another capacity, that government must enact an order or ordinance specifying that such director will be permitted to comply with the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of this subsection. The order or ordinance shall also specify that the individual, when acting as director, shall relinquish authorities and responsibilities associated with his other governmental employment and shall name a person to assume those authorities and responsibilities until such time as the director shall cease to function as director. In no case shall the county or municipal government seek or receive any reimbursement for the part-time paid director's salary if such director is employed and compensated by the county or municipality in another capacity.(D) If the part-time paid director is also a part-time paid employee in the private sector, he shall have a letter from his employer stating that he shall, without penalty, be permitted to comply with the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of this subsection.(E) If the part-time paid director is self-employed, he must certify, by letter, that his schedule shall permit him to comply with the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of this subsection.(F) Except as provided in this subparagraph, any director or deputy director of a local emergency management organization appointed after July 1, 1999, shall be a certified emergency manager under the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's Certified Emergency Manager Program. The curriculum of the Certified Emergency Manager Program and requirements for certification shall be determined by the director of emergency management and homeland security and shall include, but not be limited to, professional development series training, independent study courses, emergency preparedness courses, and field-delivered courses. Certification may be obtained by an appointed director or deputy director within six months of his or her appointment. Certification shall expire biennially. As a condition of certification renewal, such emergency management personnel shall be required to satisfactorily complete continuing education requirements provided for in subparagraph (G) of this paragraph.(G) Emergency management personnel certified under the Certified Emergency Manager Program shall complete annually a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education to maintain certification. The continuing education shall include programs and courses sponsored or approved by the director of emergency management. Personnel who lose their certification because of their failure to meet continuing education requirements will be eligible for recertification under provisions included in the Certified Emergency Manager Program.(4) If a political subdivision has a volunteer director, the political subdivision shall furnish assistance to enable the volunteer director to carry out his duties outlined in this article and Article 3 of this chapter.(5) The political subdivision shall designate an office in a building owned or leased by the political subdivision as the office of emergency management. Such office of emergency management shall have appropriate equipment and supplies, including but not limited to telephone and communication equipment, access to the 9-1-1 system if such system is operational in the political subdivision, desks, typewriters, file cabinets, and necessary office supplies. No such equipment or supplies shall be used for personal business. The local director shall post on the front door of the office the schedule of hours of the work week in which he will be attending to emergency management matters. The citizens of a political subdivision shall have accessibility to the office of emergency management and the local director or his designee shall be available or on call at all times beyond working hours.(6) A local director whose salary is reimbursed in part or in full by the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency shall also meet all requirements which may be imposed by the federal emergency management agency or its successor.(7) A local director who no longer meets the qualifications or complies with the requirements of this subsection may be removed by the director of emergency management. In any case where a local director is removed pursuant to this paragraph, the executive officer or governing body of the political subdivision shall nominate another local director.(b) Each political subdivision shall have the power and authority: (1) To appropriate and expend funds, to execute contracts, and to obtain and distribute equipment, materials, and supplies for emergency management purposes;(2) To provide for the health and safety of persons and property, including emergency assistance to the victims of any emergency or disaster resulting from manmade or natural causes or enemy attack and to direct and coordinate the development of emergency management plans and programs in accordance with the policies and plans set by the federal and state emergency management agencies;(3) To appoint, employ, remove, or provide, with or without compensation, chiefs of services, warning personnel, rescue teams, auxiliary fire and police personnel, and other emergency management workers;(4) To establish a primary and one or more secondary control centers to serve as command posts during an emergency or disaster;(5) Subject to the order of the Governor or the chief executive of the political subdivision, to assign and make available for duty the employees, property, or equipment of the subdivision relating to fire-fighting, engineering, rescue, health, medical, and related services and to police, transportation, construction, and similar items or services for emergency management purposes, within or outside of the physical limits of the subdivision;(6) In addition to the heretofore stated powers and authorities, to acquire, temporarily or permanently, by purchase, lease, or otherwise, sites required for installation of temporary housing units for disaster victims; and to enter into whatever arrangements, including purchase, of temporary housing units and payment of transportation charges which are necessary to prepare or equip such sites to utilize the housing units.(c) There is created a state fund to provide assistance to local organizations for emergency management which are authorized by subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section. The fund shall be used for the purpose of making grants to local emergency management organizations to enable them to purchase or otherwise obtain equipment which is needed for disaster preparedness. The fund shall be administered by the director of emergency management who, by rules and regulations, shall establish uniform criteria governing application for and the use of funds granted to local organizations for emergency management pursuant to this subsection. The rules and regulations shall include, but shall not be limited to, provisions:(1) Requiring that, as a condition precedent to receiving a state grant pursuant to this subsection, an amount equal to the state grant shall be raised from local funds for the purchase of disaster preparedness equipment;(2) Defining disaster preparedness equipment which shall qualify for purchase by the use of matching funds made available pursuant to this subsection;(3) Establishing procedures and requirements governing the purchase of disaster preparedness equipment when matching funds made available pursuant to this subsection are used for the purchase;(4) Establishing priorities governing grants made pursuant to this subsection which shall be based on the most effective and efficient use of disaster preparedness equipment purchased with matching funds made available pursuant to this subsection;(5) Establishing forms, procedures, and requirements governing applications for grants pursuant to this subsection; and(6) Prohibiting any single local emergency management organization from receiving more than 12 1/2 percent of the total funds annually appropriated to carry out this subsection.(d) The funds necessary to carry out subsection (c) of this Code section shall come from funds specifically appropriated for such purpose by the General Assembly.(e) (1) To the extent funds are appropriated for such purpose by the General Assembly, the director of emergency management is authorized and directed to provide funds to counties or municipalities which operate a local emergency management organization as required by this Code section. No county or municipality shall be entitled to receive funds unless the local emergency management organization has met all of the state and federal requirements to be an emergency management organization qualified to receive federal funds, including:(A) Legal establishment by local ordinance or resolution;(B) A legally appointed local director who has been endorsed and approved by the state director of emergency management and appointed by the Governor;(C) An approved emergency and disaster plan with all applicable annexes; and(D) An approved fiscal year program paper and other necessary compliance documents.(2) The amount provided to each county or municipality shall be equal to the amount of any shortfall in federal funding which results in federal funds which less than match (on a 50 percent=ndash50 percent basis) the amount budgeted by the county or municipality for the purpose of operating and maintaining the local emergency management organization.(3) In the event sufficient state funds other than those from federal sources are not appropriated for a fiscal year to fund the full amount provided for in paragraph (2) of this subsection, then the amount which would otherwise be payable to each county and municipality shall be reduced pro rata on the basis of the funds actually appropriated.(4) The director of emergency management is authorized and directed to adopt and promulgate appropriate rules and regulations to carry out this subsection.(5) Funds to carry out this subsection shall come from funds appropriated to the Office of Planning and Budget specifically for the purposes of carrying out this subsection.(f)(1) After December 31, 1993, any county which fails at any time to have established a local organization for emergency management in accordance with the state emergency management plan and program shall not be entitled to any state funding for disaster relief assistance.(2) After December 31, 1993, if a county has an organization for emergency management but a municipality within the county is not a part of the county's organization or plan and fails to have in place a local organization for emergency management in accordance with the state emergency management plan and program, such municipality shall not be entitled to any state funding for disaster relief assistance.Amended by 2016 Ga. Laws 335,§ 9, eff. 7/1/2016.Amended by 2009 Ga. Laws 8,§ 38, eff. 4/14/2009.Amended by 2005 Ga. Laws 134,§ 8, eff. 7/1/2005.