Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to provide more information.
Months of procedural headache following storms in May lead the Board of County Commissioners to consider a new option for emergency management.
Commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to hire Witt O’Brien LLC to provide emergency record keeping.
Commissioner Ron Burrows said, “We should have a company already in place so that if a disaster of a proportion that is definitely outside of our ability to manage occurs, we would be able to have them go to work immediately.”
Cleveland and Tulsa counties have similar agreements in place Witt O’Brien’s and loss management company L2M.
Counties are not required to go out for bid on professional services.
“Each state has departments to do these services, but in a disaster that is widespread they are easily overwhelmed,” Burrows said.
“This is an as needed service. If we don’t call them we don’t hear from them,” said Commissioner Steve Hendrix. “As we’ve found out in recent history, dealing with FEMA is very complicated. Having a resource that has years and years of experience dealing with FEMA in this type of operation could be some benefit.”
Hendrix added that the company can provide a variety of services, from boots on the ground visiting flood victims to project consultations.
With more than 220 flood victims in Rogers County, “you can get so caught up in the workload,” Burrows said. “They help bring clarity to the whole process.”
“It’s not if a future event will occur here in Oklahoma, but when,” Burrows said. “We would have a company when we need them … and if we don’t need them, we don’t pay them anything.”
Also from Monday’s meeting:
• Missy Richardson was appointed Rogers County Floodplain Administrator.
• Rogers County District 1 office and warehouse received an internet upgrade to 100mbs fiber.
• A contract with the Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation was approved.
Rogers County Commissioners meet on the first floor of the county courthouse every Monday at 9:00 a.m.