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Resources Blue Arrows

National Disaster FAQ

Expenditures

Question
We would like to appropriate money from our general fund to assist with the recovery effort in New York City. However, we are a little concerned about the legality of doing this. Can you help?

Answer
Because we were receiving this question so frequently, we checked with Richard Baldermann, administrator, Local Audit & Finance Division, Treasury Department, State of Michigan. He advises that local governments are not allowed to make direct financial contributions under Michigan law. This advice is consistent with the League’s publications on municipal expenditures.

Question
Can the city collect funds to be sent to help in the recovery effort?

Answer
Mr. Baldermann also advises that local governments can sponsor public gatherings and solicit funds from their employees and the public and can use public space and employees to do so.

Question
A number of our employees have volunteered to help with the recovery efforts. Can we send them?

Answer
Once again, we checked with Mr. Baldermann. His response was that this would be considered a form of mutual aid. You do need to check with your insurance carrier to assure they will be covered by worker’s compensation for these activities.

Assistance Resources

Question
How can we best determine what kind of help is needed and when and where?

Answer
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has a process in place in which it utilizes state emergency agencies to coordinate volunteer and equipment requests.
The federal government is maintaining a list of suggestions at www.firstgov.gov. Click on “What You Can Do.”

Military Leave

Question
A number of our employees are being called up for active duty. What are our responsibilities under the law?

Answer
Under both Michigan law (MCL 32.373) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) leave cannot be denied to employees called to active duty. They are provided job protection and reinstatement rights.
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) has prepared a number of fact sheets and a list of frequently asked questions and answers specifically dealing with employers’ responsibilities under the Act, as well as the employee’s rights. The ESGR web site www.esgr.org provides a great deal of information.

Question
Does an employee have to give prior notice before reporting for active duty?

Answer
Yes, unless precluded by military necessity, the employee must provide either oral or written notice. The Act, however, does not specify the amount of notice required.

Question
Are we required to continue to pay the employee during his or her period of active duty?

Answer
No. However, some cities offer differential pay or a specific number of paid military leave days. You should check both your personnel policies and any labor contracts you may have for specific guidance in your municipality.

Question
Do you have any sample military leave policies?

Answer
There are several on our web site click here.

Displaying the American Flag

Question
We want to show our support not only for the victims and their families, but also for our military personnel and citizens called to active duty by displaying the United States flag. However, we realize we may not know all the ins and outs. Do you have any information that might help?

Answer
There are a number of rules regarding display of the flag. However, the basis of all the rules is that nothing should be done that would in any way show disrespect to the flag. If displayed at night, it should be lighted and should not be displayed during inclement weather. The flag should be kept in good repair, and cleaned and mended as needed.

Other Resources

Emergency Management Resources

Question
We realize it is impossible to be totally prepared for the kind of emergency that occurred on September 11, 2001, in New York and Washington, D.C. and it is probably very unlikely that we will ever have to. However, we would like to assure we have done everything we can to be prepared for any emergency. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer
Your municipality should have in place a comprehensive emergency management plan and an individual designated as the emergency management coordinator to head your emergency management team. Your county will have a similar coordinator and team in place, as does the Michigan State Police (MSP), the agency designated to coordinate all emergency responses.

You need to review your local plan and bring it up to date. The Emergency Management Division of the Michigan State Police has developed an instrument for assessing and measuring a local jurisdiction’s capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency and disaster events.

A copy of the Local Emergency Management Standards can be downloaded from the MSP web site (www.msp.state.mi.us/division/emd/206.pdf).

 

 

 

 

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