Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
This is the final installment of a two part series.
To read Part One, click on the Related Articles link at the end of this article.
Adam Sutkus, Phyllis Cauley and Nicole Ugarte
Finding #2: Emergency management professional standards are needed in California.
The issue of standards for the field has come up regularly over the past several years and it seems to be emerging as a critical area for the evolution of emergency management given the recent challenges highlighted in this exercise. Potential actions include focusing on the needed sponsorship of the effort by a key agency (in our state it would be the California Emergency Management Agency–Cal EMA), in order to mirror efforts taken in past years for the law enforcement and fire services. Continuity and consistency are also critically needed in the field, especially given the forces pulling on it from budgetary, reorganization and expectation perspectives. The directed pursuit of standards for the field is called for now to help transition the field to its new structure and protect it from dilution and confusion.
Finding #3: The emergency management function should drive organizational structure.
A recurring theme that emerged in this project’s dialogue and has been seen nationally (with the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security and FEMA’s placement there) regarding the need for executive contact by the emergency manager. Currently, budgetary and organizational inertia is pulling the emergency manager further away from the executive decision maker where a closer relationship should develop. It would be hard to imagine this changing without strong leadership from state and national sponsoring agencies—such as Cal EMA and FEMA—to advocate clearly the need for executive contact with the emergency manager, and this step should occur. The same logic applies to the need for local departments of finance, personnel, and risk management to have a much better understanding of the emergency manager’s role. Again, these critical conversations should be initiated by both executive leaders and emergency managers.
Finding #4: Champions for emergency management are vital to the profession’s future.
Through the dialogue for this project, CESA members clearly advocated the need for executive sponsorship for the profession. Tangential but equally important is the need to have partnerships to accomplish medium and long term goals for the field by promoting change. Primary among these groups in our state is the League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties, as well as the International Association of Emergency Managers nationally. Creative and transparent partnership with these groups to pursue redefining the field and advocating change externally to all public administration professionals will be key to helping the field evolve proactively.
The visioning effort in 2010 by CESA has gone a long way towards uncovering themes and trends affecting the field, and sets the stage for additional work in 2011 and beyond to strengthen the field by ‘drilling down’ on specific issues and recommending changes. The CESA organization is taking a leadership role in California and nationally to critically examine the evolving field of emergency management. The work is not yet done, but now the internal evaluation and restructuring of the field by emergency managers for emergency managers can continue transparently on specific identified problems—with a goal of making the field stronger and more effectively able to protect benefit continuity and public safety.
ASPA member Adam Sutkus is a managing senior mediator at the Center for Collaborative Policy at Sacramento State University, where he manages the project portfolio on Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Email: [email protected]
Phyllis Cauley is a subject matter expert in emergency management with CCP, following a long career in California Emergency Services.
Nicole Ugarte is an assistant facilitator at CCP and has worked on numerous emergency management policy projects, as well as land use, water issues, and organizational development.