National Disaster FAQ
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?
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 Leagues publications on
Can the city collect funds to be sent to help in the recovery effort?
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.
A number of our employees have volunteered to help with the recovery efforts.
Can we send them?
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 workers compensation
for these activities.
How can we best determine what kind of help is needed and when and where?
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has a process in place in which
it utilizes state emergency agencies to coordinate volunteer and equipment
The federal government is maintaining a list of suggestions at www.firstgov.gov.
Click on What You Can Do.
A number of our employees are being called up for active duty. What are
our responsibilities under the law?
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
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 employees rights. The ESGR web site www.esgr.org
provides a great deal of information.
Does an employee have to give prior notice before reporting for active
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.
Are we required to continue to pay the employee during his or her period
of active duty?
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.
Do you have any sample military leave policies?
There are several on our web site click here.
Displaying the American Flag
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?
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.
Emergency Management Resources
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?
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 jurisdictions capability to
mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency and
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).