County asks for reimbursement plan
by Paisley Boston
Nov 20, 2013 | 1559 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EMA Director William Quinton (seated at right) asks the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors for an order to reimbursement personnel who respond to national and state emergencies.
EMA Director William Quinton (seated at right) asks the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors for an order to reimbursement personnel who respond to national and state emergencies.
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Bolivar County Emergency Management Director Bill Quinton has asked the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors for an order to pay emergency response personnel during the time of a national or state declared emergency.

"In the event of a federal or state declared emergency there is supposed to be guaranteed reimbursement. If individuals are given travel orders then they should be reimbursed when they respond to declared emergencies," said Quinton.

According to Quinton, several emergency response employees went to aid in various locations during Hurricane Katrina but they were not compensated because a board order was not in place to pay them.

"These people are in fact dedicated to helping when disaster strikes and they deserve to be paid. Some of them stayed for two weeks. It doesn’t make good sense to me when in fact there is suppose to be guaranteed reimbursement for payment," said Quinton.

"When I went to New Jersey for a declared emergency, I had complications about being paid. The county would not have lost any money in that situation," he added

Board Attorney Linda Coleman was instructed by members of the board to research the legal ramifications of enacting a board order to pay emergency response personnel.

Coleman explained her concern was that “at the present time, Mr. Quinton is the only county employee involved."

"I understand the reimbursement but we need to know who we are reimbursing. I understand the importance of the order but I just want to make sure that it is clear to the board in terms of what they may want to consider, but if it is not important to the board then the matter could be resolved today," said Colman.

"Through the pool of eligible people I would like to think that the board of supervisors would like to know who is representing Bolivar County," she added.

According to Quinton, he is not concerned about the selection process of the individuals who respond to emergencies outside of the county or state he just wants them to be recompensed for the time they dedicate when disaster strikes.

"It does not matter who you pick that would still pose as a problem, because out of the people that are picked every so many months, I am sure that not even two of them will show up during the time of the emergency. This also covers emergencies in Bolivar County. It’s not like we are going to Gulfport, Alabama or New York all the time," Quinton said.

According to Supervisor James McBride individuals should be recompensed for their duties and service during a declared emergency but the same individuals should not be allowed to go each time there is an emergency.

"We don’t mind reimbursing individuals but we don’t want the same individuals going every time to respond to an emergency. There needs to be an emergency response plan in place," said McBride.

"There needs to be a plan in place where every so many months a certain group of individuals on the Emergency Response team will be selected to be on call in case of a state or national disaster and after those months have passed then a next set of people will be chosen," he added.

Supervisor Andrew Williams suggested Coleman and Quinton come up with a plan and present it to members of the board for further review.