Issue 102 - August 2020
Registration is now open for Resilient Together, our digital Risk Management Educational Forum for 2020. Resilient Together is about joining with other members. Resilient Together means being strong in the face of today’s challenges. Resilient Together is also a time to build and renew relationships.
Resilient Together will be leveraging the strengths of digital technology to help ensure this is not just another virtual conference. Our sessions and topics will feature the sharpest minds, with insight from those who share in local and civic duty.
Educating our members has always been the primary goal of the Forum. Given the ease of participating from anywhere, we are making Resilient Together open to everyone in your agency. Attendees will be able to join from any computer or mobile device. We are also encouraging members to organize group participation in conferencing rooms or council chambers.
All participants will be able to engage with presenters, with some sessions offering roundtable breakouts to converse with colleagues in smaller groups. Aside from our virtual sessions, additional educational content will be available for download after the event.
Resilient Together also includes opportunities for networking, as this is a critical part of any educational experience. Participants will enjoy interacting with live hosts, join chat rooms, and visit virtual networking lounges.Print Article
Originally published by PublicCEO on July 27, 2020. Reprinted with permission from Best, Best & Krieger LLP.
The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, went into effect this year and the California Attorney General began enforcing it on July 1. One might assume that any legislation aimed at “consumers” would have nothing to do with government. That would be a mistake.
The CCPA is broadly written. A local agency that ignores the CCPA does so at its own peril.
The CCPA covers personal information — that is, information that could be associated with any particular person or household. This includes identifiers such as a consumer’s real name, postal address, IP address and email address. It also includes information about transactions that a person or household has participated in, including records of goods and services purchased.
The law gives consumers the right to know what personal information is collected about them, the right to easily opt-out of the sharing of their personal information, the right to take their personal information somewhere else and, subject to certain limitations, the right to have that information destroyed.
The CCPA is not toothless.
Any consumer whose non-encrypted or non-redacted personal information is subject to unauthorized access as a result of an organization’s violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures may sue to recover damages — either individually or as part of a class action lawsuit. Those who violate the CCPA may also be sued by the state’s Attorney General and incur civil penalties.
What This Means for Local Government
While the CCPA expressly applies only to for-profit entities, it doesn’t follow that public agencies should remain ignorant of its provisions.
Public agencies regularly contract with for-profit firms to bill for services provided by the public agency. A billing services provider for a public agency supplying electric, water and other utility services, will obtain information regarding the name, address, telephone number, credit history and utility usage data of individual customers. This information is presumptively private under the California Public Records Act, and is also designated as confidential in a typical public agency/billing services provider contract. As such, it constitutes personal information that is subject to the CCPA.
A local public agency might also enter into a contract with a private micro-mobility device provider, such as Lime, Jump or Bird. In exchange for allowing these firms to leave their scooter, bike and other ride-sharing devices in the public right of way, an agency might ask that the provider collect (and share with the agency) usage data revealing the identity of an individual rider and the route they took on a particular day and time. Such information counts as personal information under the CCPA.
Public agencies may have even considered selling some of this information to private firms.
For example, my electricity usage might be valuable to firms who sell and install home solar power systems. Your water usage might be valuable to firms who sell and install drip irrigation systems and drought tolerant ground cover and landscaping. Another person’s travel patterns might be valuable to retailers.
If I have been known to buy cold brew coffee at Starbucks, the next time I’m renting an electric scooter near a Starbucks, Starbucks might like to know so they can send me advertisement in real time that they are having a special on cold brew coffee just a block away.
A public entity is liable for injury caused by the tortious act, or omission, of an independent contractor to the same extent the public entity would be subject to such liability if it were a private person. When there is a duty to do certain work carefully, or to maintain property in a safe condition, this duty cannot be avoided by delegating the work to an independent contractor.
Under the peculiar risk doctrine, a city is liable for injuries resulting from the negligent performance of a contract involving special risks, particular to the work to be done, and arising out of its character, or out of the place where it is done, against which a reasonable person would recognize the necessity of taking special precautions.
All of this means that a public agency may be on the hook for violations of the CCPA by an independent contractor. A firm hired to assist with billing for the agency’s utility services might fail to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures with respect to customer data and suffer a data breach, leading to a lawsuit on behalf the agency’s customers for statutory damages.
Alternatively, the billing firm might fail to provide the agency’s customers with the CCPA’s required “notice at collection” regarding the categories of personal information collected. This might result in complaints to the Attorney General and legal action.
Protecting Your Agency Against CCPA Violation Risks
Public agencies have experience addressing the liability risks posed by the acts and omissions of independent contractors.
Typically, agencies address them by inserting an indemnity clause into their contract with an independent contractor. These indemnity clauses may require the independent contractor to pay the agency’s litigation expenses and money damages the agency is ordered to pay if sued for something the contractor did or failed to do.
Agencies have also addressed the liability risks posed by independent contractors by insuring against them. Insurance policies tailored to the risks associated with electronic data and misuse of personal information, for example cyber liability and data breach insurance policies, are increasingly available.
Either way, where a public agency contracts with a private entity collecting information from consumers, the agency should review its contracts and insurance coverage to ensure it is adequately protected against the risks of a violation of the CCPA.Print Article
The Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) recently made changes to Title 2, Division 6, of the California Code of Regulations, section 18707 (Disqualification Requirements) to close a loophole to prevent public officials identified in Government Code 87200 from leaving a meeting to avoid disclosing a disqualifying interest at that public meeting. The newly adopted section 18707, which can be found here, clarifies that a public official specified in Government Code section 87200 must publicly identify a conflict of interest in a public meeting agenda item, where the official attends any portion of the meeting. This change to section 18707 reminds us all of the importance of identifying disqualifying conflicts of interest as early as possible so that public identification of that disqualifying interest can done correctly and in conformance with the Political Reform Act.
Government Code section 87200 identifies a number of elected and appointed officials, including city councilmembers, members of planning commissions, members of board of supervisors, mayors, city managers, and any public official who manages public investments, as statutory filers who are required to file Statements of Economic Interests. Generally, Government Code section 87100 states that no public official shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest. Government Code section 87105 governs the manner of disqualification for a public official identified in Government Code section 87200 and generally requires that section 87200 officials, immediately prior to the consideration of the matter, publicly identify the financial interest that gives rise to the conflict, recuse themselves from discussion and voting on the matter, and leave the room until after the matter is concluded. Regulation section 18707 provides further specificity with regard to the disqualification requirements for section 87200 officials. However, the prior section 18707(a)(3) permitted an exception to the public identification duties where the section 87200 public official was absent providing, “… [i]f the public official is absent when the agenda item subject to subdivision (a) of this regulation is considered, there are no public identification duties on the public official for that item at that meeting.”
Concerned citizens reported to the FPPC an elected official in their county attended a public meeting, in which they understood the official to have a financial interest in an item on the agenda, left the meeting prior to the particular agenda item, and then returned to the meeting after the item was completed, with no disclosure as to his financial interest. The FPPC felt that such actions circumvented the disclosure requirements and needed to be addressed through a revision to section 18707.
The newly adopted section 18707, eliminates the former absence exception in the former subsection (a)(3) entirely and clarifies the “Timing” requirements found in subsection (a)(2) by indicating that the public identification of the financial interest must be made immediately prior to consideration of the agenda item and a partial absence from a meeting does not excuse the section 87200 public official’s public identification requirement. If a public official leaves a meeting in advance of the agenda item in which the official is disqualified, the official must publicly identify the agenda item and the financial interest prior to leaving the meeting. If a public official joins a meeting after the consideration of an agency item in which the official is disqualified, he or she must publicly identify the agenda item and the financial interest immediately upon joining the meeting. Other non-substantive changes were also made to section 18707, including clarification and reorganization of the language relating to recusals and leaving the room in subsection (a)(3). The newly adopted section 18707 does not identify recusal requirements where the public official with the conflict of interest is completely absent from the entire meeting.
The League of California Cities’ FPPC Committee of the City Attorneys’ Department submitted written public comment on the item prior to the FPPC’s consideration of the revisions to section 18707 seeking amendments to, among other things, the “Timing” requirements found in subsection (a)(2), which require disclosure “immediately prior to consideration” or disclosure “immediately upon joining the meeting.” The public comment from the League’s Committee asked for changes to the language to provide greater flexibility to public officials who must deal with the practicalities of suddenly leaving a meeting and/or returning to a meeting in progress. The FPPC discussed this request and concluded that the term “immediately” is used throughout the Regulations and when enforced, the FPPC interprets the term “immediately” using a “reasonable person” standard. Thus, the FPPC did not feel any changes were necessary.Print Article
The California JPIA has received an Award of Distinction for Internal Communications from the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO). The award recognizes the Authority’s 40th anniversary book.
“Effective communication is a fundamental element of public service,” said California JPIA Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “We are proud that our book, which celebrates the Authority’s first 40 years of service to its members, has been recognized by these distinguished experts.”
CAPIO is a professional organization that advances public sector communicators through training, resources, and networking. The organization’s members, representing agencies across all levels of government, engage their communities through honest and transparent communication.
CAPIO’s awards program is administered annually to honor outstanding public agency information and communications programs and to recognize creative and effective efforts that have made a lasting impact. The Award of Distinction is presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.
The Authority’s winning entry, awarded 95 points on a 100-point scale by a panel of impartial judges, was evaluated based on standard scoring criteria that included ratings for research, planning, implementation, and results and evaluation.
“In this age of digital communications, I was impressed that your organization supported such a robust print deliverable,” noted one judge. “You were able to do so because you had a very sound communications strategy.”
The narrative for the commemorative volume, organized by decade and complemented by a detailed timeline of key milestones, was developed through a series of interviews with Authority staff and Executive Committee members. Archival photos, original sketches, and past newsletters provide memories of key leadership and special events. The template for the design, rooted in the Authority’s style guide, is accented with custom artwork based on a detail within ironwork on-site at the Authority’s campus in La Palma. The final book was produced in two versions, perfect-bound and hard cover, both enhanced with a gold foil stamp of the Authority’s logo, as well as 40th anniversary recognition.Print Article
The California JPIA has renewed its partnership with the California City Management Foundation (CCMF), a premier advocacy organization that promotes and encourages excellence in the city management profession.
“Thank you to the California JPIA for supporting local agencies and the city managers who lead them,” said CCMF President Ken Striplin. “The California JPIA is an integral partner for many of our members. We’re grateful for your steady support, backed by a full understanding of the challenges city managers face.”
CCMF and the California JPIA recognize the city management profession as a challenging mix of fiscal management, politics, legal issues, and public relations. Both organizations are dedicated to supporting the next generation of city managers in navigating these challenges, and advocate for healthy council-manager relations and the well-being of city managers to ensure stable and successful communities.
These common objectives have reinforced the Authority’s partnership with CCMF as a Foundation Circle Sponsor since 2015.
Learning and sharing insights with members during CCMF-sponsored conferences and special events is another important benefit of the partnership. Last year, Authority staff attended a lunch program in the Coachella Valley, a reception and dinner at the New & Future City Managers Seminar, and a reception and member appreciation dinner at the League of California Cities City Managers Conference.
“The connections developed by CCMF are vital, particularly during the current tumultuous times,” said California JPIA Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “We are proud to continue our support of a valuable organization that encourages California’s city managers and inspires forward-looking dialogue in the city management community.”Print Article
In order to better connect with current members and reach potential new members, the Authority has an active presence on social media. Members can find information on various topics on the social media channels listed below.
Connect with our latest posts:
“The California JPIA honors the memory of former City of Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio, who passed away on July 19. A lifelong resident, Mayor Rubio was the longest-serving elected official in the history of City of Seaside. He was elected to the Seaside City Council in 2000 and elected Mayor in 2004. He finished his final term as Mayor in December of 2018. City of Seaside, California – City Hall” Comment and share:
“Protecting employees from workplace hazards is not only required by law, it is also the right thing to do and an essential part of stopping the spread of COVID-19. Cal/OSHA urges employers to follow the state’s workplace safety and health guidance on protecting workers from COVID-19. Check out Cal/OSHA’s guidance documents for employers, read more: https://lnkd.in/g4W7bAs” Follow us, comment and share about risk management:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new website, ‘Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19,’ that includes information on preparedness and recovery during COVID-19 and what public agencies can do to keep their residents safe. Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/yythrplo #CDC #coronavirus #COVID19” Like and follow us:
For information on how to join these sites or participate in discussions, please contact Courtney Morrison, Management Analyst, by email or by phone at (562) 467-8779.Print Article
The Authority’s latest news has been 20 years in the making.
In the early 2000s, responding to upwardly trending claims, the California JPIA developed a more targeted approach to helping member agencies manage risk. A 2004 member survey revealed that, although members were satisfied with the Authority’s risk management evaluation strategy, they found it difficult to implement the associated recommendations. As a result, members told the Authority that they wanted to better understand how to implement risk management changes.
The LossCAP program, implemented in 2007, was the first step in more active problem-solving with members, pairing in-the-field evaluations with analysis and strategic risk management recommendations to reduce the frequency and severity of losses and identify underlying causes of significant claims.
To complement the program and provide assistance in the completion of LossCAP action plan items, the Authority turned to its own risk managers. One of the most important developments of the 2010s, according to Lefmann, was the introduction of a regional service delivery model. Authority risk managers, working geographically from within the membership’s regions, were to focus on member relationships and provide risk management resources.
“Our risk managers have a pivotal role in managing relationships with members,” continued Lefmann. “Moving the risk managers out of the office and into the field provided first-hand access to participating in meetings and facilitating training, as well as getting to know members on a personal level.”
Working closely with members to identify and respond to risk, the Authority’s risk managers are trusted advisors, educators, and advocates.
“The risk manager model creates a relationship of dialogue,” said Jorge Garcia, management services director for the City of Pismo Beach. “I feel comfortable getting input and direct access to Authority staff to answer my questions and provide support to my entire organization. Having a risk manager that is engaged has resulted in reduced claims and lower costs. In addition, when we have regional discussions, it helps to have the same risk manager assisting in efforts to work collaboratively.”
The division of regions is a function of the Authority’s regional risk manager model, with service delivery organized by geographical areas.
This July, the Authority welcomed the cities of Hemet, Lemon Grove, Pacific Grove, Stanton, Vista, and West Covina, together with Rossmoor Community Services District.
“From a coverage standpoint, growth spreads risk across a greater number of members and helps bring costs down,” said Lefmann. “While we have increased the size of the pool, it is important to maintain and develop successful, personal relationships with our current and new members.”
To this end, the Authority has expanded its regions from five to seven and making associated realignments in risk manager assignments. The new regional boundaries are, in part, defined by the areas in which the risk managers reside, so that they may live and work in the same region.
As the Authority’s regions have increased, so has its staff.
“Recruiting and cultivating a secure, dependable team to serve our members is one of my most important responsibilities,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “People are the most important part of our organization.”
The Authority is grateful to have hired three outstanding professionals selected from a robust pool of candidates based on their professional acumen and commitment to member service and careful vetting by a committee of member agency representatives.
“As a panelist for the recent risk manager recruitment, I was able to help shape the future of the Authority and provide input that will strengthen partnerships between risk managers and members,” said Garcia. “The countless opportunities that the Authority creates for member engagement provides value that cannot be duplicated. More than simply a member agency, we are a partner working toward a common goal.”
New Senior Risk Manager Toni Consolo, who joins the Authority from the Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs, shares the California JPIA’s commitment to collaboration as articulated by Garcia: “I want our members to know that I’m here as their partner to support them,” she said.
After earning a B.A. from the University of Michigan, Consolo started her career in risk management as a supervisor and computer coordinator for Sedgwick. She also has experience as an assistant vice president for Keenan & Associates and as a risk manager for the Montebello Unified School District and the Los Angeles Community College District.
“I started out in the workers’ compensation arena, on a claims desk,” she said. “My later specialization—school districts—led me to the public sector.”
Her area of service encompasses Authority members in Region 7, Coastal and Northwest L.A. County and South Ventura County, including the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Hidden Hills, Lawndale, Malibu, Moorpark, Port Hueneme, and Westlake Village, as well as the Agoura Hills and Calabasas Community Center and the Ventura Port District.
In addition to professional expertise and experience, Consolo brings with her the added value of keen listening skills that she will apply to helping members navigate the rapidly changing landscape of COVID-19.
“The pandemic has brought a different dynamic to municipal risk management,” she said. “Agencies are expected to safely maintain operations and support the public, yet they are processing information and learning at the same time as their constituents. By listening more and talking less, I will strive to gain a better understanding of how I can best be of service to our members during this extraordinary time.”
“Toni is a great addition to the California JPIA team,” said Senior Risk Manager Maria Galvan, who is serving as Consolo’s staff mentor. “From day one, she has established relationships with her assigned members. Her research skills, extensive contractual risk transfer background, and other areas of expertise add to our risk management team and the service we provide our membership.”
Like Consolo, Senior Risk Manager Lucy Gonzalez brings significant expertise in preventing occurrences and reducing costs, with 22 years’ experience in workers’ compensation claims and safety program management across multiple industries. Her professional and educational background are in administrative studies, finance, workers’ compensation, ergonomics, and risk management.
Gonzalez became interested in the California JPIA because she believes in the Authority’s mission and wants to make a positive impact on the organization and the local governments it serves.
“Giving back and helping improve my community is a significant part of my values,” she said. “I love coming to work each day, knowing that by assisting my members I am helping to make a difference in my community and my members’ communities.”
Gonzalez will partner with Authority members in Region 3, North and South Orange County, including the cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Seal Beach, Stanton, and Villa Park, as well as Area E Disaster Management, the Orange County Council of Governments, Rossmoor Community Services District, and West Cities Communications Center.
“Lucy is a detail-oriented person,” says Senior Risk Manager Melaina Francis, who is serving as Gonzalez’s staff mentor. “She is focused on quickly learning all of the Authority’s processes and procedures to assist members to the best of her abilities. Lucy’s easy-going and calm demeanor, good sense of humor, and risk management knowledge all make her a welcome addition to our team!”
Asked about the biggest risk management challenge facing municipal organizations today, Gonzalez identified law enforcement and public safety, both their daily administrative and operational duties.
“Risk management in law enforcement encompasses policies and regulations for the protection of peace officers and their agencies from lawsuits,” she said. “Law enforcement personnel at all levels should see risk management efforts as doing what is right for the agency and the community.”
The Authority’s third new senior risk manager, Tony Leite, a longtime civil servant who began his career as a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, shares Gonzalez’s interest in public safety.
“I’ve been on the side of public safety, even responding to 911 calls, so I can relate to the public safety sector of our member cities and speak intelligently to their fire and police as it relates to emergency services.”
Leite joins the California JPIA from Sedgwick, where he was a senior manager for risk control. He previously has served in various risk management capacities for Poms & Associates, Bank of America, and Lockheed Martin. He also has taught fire technology in the Antelope Valley Union High School District for almost 20 years.
As a consultant with Poms & Associates, Leite had a past life in working with the Authority. That exposure to the organization and its staff piqued his interest in municipal risk management: “I developed an appreciation of the complex levels of risk that municipalities face,” he said.
“Tony adds a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Authority team,” says Senior Risk Manager Alex Mellor, who is serving as Leite’s staff mentor. “For example, his experience conducting mishap investigations for Lockheed Martin has allowed him to provide valuable feedback regarding our workers’ compensation root cause program. Tony is a valuable addition and I know that members will enjoy working with him.”
Leite’s service area, Region 6, includes East L.A. County, San Bernardino County, and the Eastern Sierras. He will work with members including the cities of Apple Valley, Big Bear Lake, Bishop, Chino Hills, Claremont, Diamond Bar, Grand Terrace, La Habra Heights, La Puente, La Verne, Loma Linda, Mammoth Lakes, Needles, Santa Fe Springs, Walnut, and West Covina, as well as the Big Bear City Community Services District, Big Bear Fire Authority, Eastern Sierra Transportation Authority, and Mountain Area Rapid Transit Authority.
In addition to managing regional member relations, including training, risk management, claims, and finance, the new senior risk managers all will lend subject matter expertise to the Authority’s holistic operations.
Welcome, Toni, Lucy, and Tony, to the California JPIA.Print Article
This July, the City of San Juan Capistrano embraced social distancing protocols with a drive-in 4th of July fireworks display and a series of drive-in movie events.
“Events like the Fourth of July and the drive-in movies serve as great examples of what can be done,” said Sam Penrod, human resources and risk manager for the City of San Juan Capistrano. “When people realize that successful events can occur within the socially distanced world—and how risk management can be a partner in the process—they become more receptive to creative solutions.”
The mission city’s 4th of July fireworks took place at the San Juan Sports Park, one of six main athletic field areas in the community. The facility includes four soccer fields, two baseball fields, and ample parking that allowed staff to ensure that social distancing was practical and achievable. Pre-registration for the fireworks display was mandatory, with in-person attendance limited to San Juan Capistrano residents. Attendees parked their vehicles in every other space to safely view the fireworks and were required to stay in their vehicles for the duration of the display, which also was livestreamed on the city’s website for those who were unable or preferred not to attend in person.
Penrod says that planning and executing the event truly was a team effort.
“We had representatives from risk management to law enforcement to public works,” said Penrod. “Everyone’s input was important; there was a free flow of information.”
For the drive-in movie summer series, which took place at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, the community partnered with a drive-in operator to show films including The Lego Movie and Ready Player One. The safe, social-distanced theater was operated by a smartphone-based system that allowed attendees to enjoy the experience without ever leaving their cars. Vehicles were parked in spaces at least eight feet apart, ensuring ample distance.
California JPIA Senior Risk Manager Alex Mellor, who acted as a sounding board and encouraged city staff to follow all applicable public health guidance, offers this advice for other member agencies planning similar events:
- Early in the planning process, recognize and embrace the fact that these non-traditional events will require creative solutions to be successful.
- Use applicable guidance from public health authorities as a framework for the events, rather than trying to get around the recommendations.
- Leverage expertise and resources inside and outside the organization. Successful events depend on effective collaboration between city departments, public health authorities, and the California JPIA.
All these strategies, he said, allowed San Juan Capistrano to continue the annual tradition of a July 4th fireworks event while many other Orange County cities cancelled their celebrations.
Penrod added that both of the events were team efforts initiated by council, implemented by staff who were willing to adapt to changing circumstances, collaborate, and listen—and supported by the California JPIA.
“The California JPIA is a tremendous resource,” said Penrod. “They always have been a terrific strategic partner and a resource to help make things happen.”Print Article
During a special virtual meeting on Thursday, August 6, 2020, the ICMA Executive Board selected Troy Brown, city manager of Moorpark, California, to serve as the association’s 2020-2021 president-elect. Brown will serve in this leadership role for a one-year term commencing during 2020 UNITE: A Digital Event, September 23-26, and will then assume the role of president at the 2021 ICMA Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.
“We are thrilled with Troy’s selection as the incoming president-elect,” said current ICMA President Jane Brautigam. “He brings deep conviction that ICMA and our members are ready and able to lead our communities past the present crises to a place of hope and healing. I have every confidence that his leadership will have a significant positive impact on our outreach to all members across the globe.”
ICMA’s 21-member executive board acts in the capacity of directors, overseeing the organization’s financial, member-related, and programmatic affairs, as well as selecting the board president. The board also enforces the organization’s Code of Ethics, which governs the professional and personal conduct of the membership. ICMA Executive Board members attend four meetings annually.
Brown’s career in local government began in 1994, when he accepted a position as recreation specialist for Santa Clarita, California. He then moved up the ranks in the city, serving as an information technology specialist and then management analyst. He then joined Riverside, California, where he served as assistant to the city manager, and later as budget manager and assistant to the city manager in Elk Grove, California. Before joining Moorpark, he served as assistant city manager of Livermore, California, and, most recently, as city manager of Tracy, California.
Brown has been an active member of ICMA since 2004. He was elected by the membership in 2011 to serve a three-year term as West Coast Regional Vice President on the ICMA Executive Board. He then served as co-chair of the Task Force for Strengthening Inclusiveness in the Profession, and as an ICMA-appointed representative on the Vantage Trust Board of Directors, 2015-2017.
“Troy Brown brings thoughtful leadership at a critical time for ICMA,” said incoming ICMA President-Elect James Malloy. “I’m looking forward to working with Troy, the board, and ICMA leadership on the issues in front of us.”Print Article
The City of Malibu has prepared a siren sound study, the first step in moving forward with an outdoor emergency siren system. The results were presented to the Public Safety Commission during at its virtual meeting on August 5, 2020.
Outdoor warning siren systems are intended to improve emergency communications during wildfires or other disasters when electricity, cell phone, and landline phone services and other communications capabilities have been knocked out due to power outages or damage to infrastructure.
“The size and ferocity of the Woolsey Fire and other California mega-wildfires was a game-changer, and we are working to address the vulnerabilities that they revealed,” said Mayor Mikke Pierson. “No system is infallible, so we have to plan for systems to fail, and the outdoor siren system could be a powerful tool as an early warning system for future wildfires in Malibu.”
The proposed system is part of the city’s overall disaster preparedness efforts, and specifically, part of the Zero Power Plan to increase emergency communication capabilities during widespread power and phone service outages that may occur during high wind, disasters, or Southern California Edison (SCE) Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).
The devastating 2018 Woolsey Fire damaged cell phone, landline phone, electricity, and internet, creating a virtual communications blackout in the entire City of Malibu, increasing the danger of the fire, and hindering emergency communications and evacuations.
In response to the Woolsey Fire and potential PSPS conditions, the city began developing a Zero Power Plan, which includes the proposed siren system, as well as Emergency Supplies and Information Stations that can be set up along the 21-mile length of the city at gathering places such as shopping centers. The stations will be staffed by Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers and have sandwich boards with printed emergency information that can be updated daily with printed emergency information to keep residents informed even when the power or cell phones are out.
The city also purchased a large number of megaphones, flashing light bars, and emergency vehicle identification placards so that city staff and volunteers can support evacuation efforts during an emergency when power and communications are disabled. The city has conducted several drills of these zero power emergency response initiatives.
As part of the siren sound study, sound propagation analysis was conducted to examine the feasibility of the project, analyze the effectiveness of different system types, and consider potential locations and the number of outdoor sirens needed.
Malibu is among several cities in the state including Calistoga, Berkeley, Sonoma, and Mill Valley to pursue outdoor siren systems after the deadly wildfires of Northern California.
While the siren sound study was funded by the city’s general fund, the city has applied for a federal grant to offset the cost to engineer and design the project and will pursue additional federal grants to offset the cost of the installation of sirens.