Town of Halifax, Vermont

November 28, 2012

This special meeting was held the Readsboro Elementary School, and was for the purpose of taking training known as ICS-402: Incident Command System for Executives. The meeting started at 6:45 p.m.  Selectboard members in attendance were Earl Holtz, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Also in attendance was Brad Rafus of the Halifax Highway Department, and Selectboard officials and staff from Readsboro and Marlboro.  The trainer for the event was Lissa Stark, Homeland Security Training Coordinator.

The main thing to note is that the role for “Executives / Senior Officials” (aka Selectboards in Town situations) is more to provide policy guidance than a first responder role, and they have a responsibility to oversee resource coordination to the on-scene command, either from the Emergency Operations Center or through dispatch.

After walking through the presentation, a few audience discussions were held.  Edwards asked what the ramifications were if a town had not issued a proclamation adopting ICS, and she asked how such a proclamation would affect the volunteer, non-town controlled, and largely independently-funded Fire Department and Emergency Medical Squads with which many small towns are working.  It was discussed that the primary carrot held out by the state was grant funding, but that no one was aware of penalties.

Secondly, as the training emphasized

(1)   delegation ahead of disasters for spending limits and other authority for the Incident commander, and

(2)   multi-agency coordination

Edwards asked if any of the other Selectboard members present had attended the VLCT training for inter-agency agreements.  She wondered if the towns had any reciprocal agreements to help each other out and properly fund such efforts (noting that not all disasters are FEMA-funded).  Sumner stated that he thought Halifax had such agreements.  Edwards asked about the rates, and where the agreements are filed.  Someone from Readsboro said there were state-set rates.  The attendees from Marlboro agreed that perhaps a joint Selectboard meeting could help with any potential revisions or review of such agreements.

Readsboro  also shared their recent purchase of “cell phone network extenders.”  This seemed like a useful discussion as a way to improve communications in the EOC, but it was noted that you must first have DSL, and then purchase equipment that is cell network-carrier specific.

The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m, after a brief conversation with Brad Rafus, Edwards, and Holtz, about the upcoming budget meetings.  Rafus confirmed that he could be available at the December 8th meeting, but was not available on December 1.

Edwards and Holtz were ridesharing, as were Rafus and Sumner.  No town business was discussed between Holtz and Edwards.

The meeting ended at approximately 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards, Selectboard Vice Chair