Commissioners approve EMA, LEPC agreement

By Martin Graham -

The Fayette County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) will continue to assume and coordinate responsibilities for the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) following an agreement recently approved by the Fayette County Commissioners.

During the commissioners’ meeting, Dan Dean and Jack DeWeese approved an agreement, which was more of a formality, according to EMA Director Melissa Havens.

“That is kind of a formality more than anything,” Havens said during an interview Monday. “It is an ongoing contract that we have every year with the LEPC. So my job is both the EMA and the LEPC, but we have to have a legal resolution in place for me to submit paperwork and be reimbursed. I think the oldest contract I saw was 1999, but it probably dates prior to that, so this agreement is nothing new.”

According to the agreement, the LEPC will continue to contract with EMA to perform such duties as emergency plans and reviews, exercising the plan and evaluation, training and education, compliance, facility hazard analysis and other tasks and responsibilities. This contract in no way removes the LEPC authority and responsibilities to oversee the Hazardous Materials Program in Fayette County.

“In some counties, especially larger counties, the LEPC is covered by someone other than the EMA,” Havens said. “It is sometimes the fire department or just another county official that they assign that too. But we have to have a legal binding agreement. So it is more of a paperwork formality for me for one of my grants to have that in writing. People may not be used to seeing this contract renewed as we haven’t renewed it in awhile, but it is generally only required as proof for an audit. I don’t have one coming up, but in my mind I want to be prepared, so the state recommended I update the information. Nothing has changed in the way we do things, it is the same stuff we have been doing for 20 or 30 years.”

This agreement stands in effect at the cost of $12,000 from the LEPC budget with the approval of the Local Emergency Planning Executive Committee and the Fayette County Commissioners. The money will be placed into the EMA operating budget and the duties may be performed by the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency Director, or a designee. The contract is for the state fiscal year — July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 — and is retroactive to that date.

In other news, the commissioners approved two items on the agenda that concerned legal representation. The first was an amendment to an agreement with the City of Washington Court House for providing assigned counsel in municipal court for the initial sum of $2,000, and the city’s supplement, which said, “Account as needed upon notice from the Commissioners.” This contract amount constitutes partial payment for the county’s services for the year 2019. Those funds reimbursed to the county from the Ohio Public Defender Commission for counsel representation will be paid over to the city upon receipt.

The second item was an agreement with Mark J. Pitstick, Attorney at Law, to provide prosecution services for criminal cases which arise within the unincorporated areas of Fayette County and are filed as misdemeanor criminal offenses in the Washington Court House Municipal Court. The contract period is Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019 with the annual compensation of $15,000 to be paid in two equal installments of $7,500 (May 31, 2019 and Nov. 30, 2019).

Also during the meeting; bids were received for janitorial services in the county, a five-year Planned Equipment Maintenance Agreement with Cummins, Inc. for servicing the Generac generators at the county courthouse, engineer’s office and life squad building was approved, and the regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 10 was moved to Dec. 11.

Stay with the Record-Herald each week for more from the Fayette County Commissioners.

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.

By Martin Graham