The Public Safety committee session might have been split in two due to a special board meeting at 7 pm, but it didn’t prevent the board of supervisors from getting into a brief – but vigorous debate about a proposed resolution.
That resolution would have introduced a local law, amending one from 2002. The proposal would move the position of emergency management director to the purview of the supervisors – allowing that position to report to them.
However, as Junius Town Supervisor Ernie Brownell read out the resolution introducing the local law – Board Chairman Bob Shipley said that consultation with County Attorney Frank Fisher deemed Public Safety not be the appropriate channel for it to go through.
The entire debate and proposal was stirred up following the investigation, and resignation of former Emergency Management Director Melissa Taylor, who indicated in a letter to the supervisors that she would only return to her post – if placed under board supervision.
The former director cited a conflict of interest in the County Manager’s Office, which prompted her resignation – given that her position reported directly to him.
“Basically it would be up to government operations to bring this resolution up, not public safety,” Supervisor Shipley said after Brownell finished reading it.
Fayette Town Supervisor Cindy Lorenzetti questioned the process, citing that the board had decided as a group in executive session to move forward with the resolution coming under public safety. “It can come under any committee; any chairman can bring it up,” Supervisor Lorenzetti said. “Everyone was present; we decided it was going to be under public safety.”
The resolution was proposed and seconded, but did not move forward. County Attorney Fisher explained that while the board can operate outside the rules of governance, in terms of what items come up under individual committees – when a supervisor calls a ‘point of order’ the board becomes bound by those rules.
When Supervisor Shipley engaged the issue of this matter coming under public safety, since it was a local law – the governing regulations require that the resolution go before government operations.
“You can take that resolution and ask for Government Operations to act on it,” added Shipley, who stated that while his opinion changed on ‘who’ could handle the matter after discussions with the County Attorney, and committee leadership.