Commissioners may add two positions related to disaster recovery

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

By Larry Holt

The Orange Leader

Orange County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton announced, during the Tuesday afternoon Commissioners Court meeting, FEMA Small Business Administration loan application deadline has been extended until November 24, 2017.

Commissioner Barry Burton updated the court regarding the County Courthouse repair project.

“The recent walkthrough did not discover any damage from Hurricane Harvey,” Burton said. “We are waiting for a full report; however we are going to be able to move forward with repairing and preserving the structure and will be receiving a draft master plan very soon.”

Human Resources Director Lori Ardoin addressed the court concerning possible continued participation in the County Choice Silver Program for Orange County retirees in 2018 by renewing with United Healthcare retiree medical benefits.

Commissioner John Gothia said the court learned the importance of starting the bid process early.

Commissioner Johnny Trahan followed up saying, “By starting early we can give our retirees a heads up” of what changes there might be going forward.

Of the plan choices available the court moved to proceed with a $5 increase in the prescription cost but stay with the existing County Choice Silver Program for the coming year.

Discussions of other agenda items resulted in the court agreeing to hold workshops on a variety of issues such as possibly aligning the Parks Department with the Maintenance Department for greater efficiency and cost savings.

Also, Carlton led the discussion of possibly creating two new county positions related to disaster recovery.   The court agreed the County would benefit from having a dedicated disaster project manager that would oversee among other things disaster recovery paperwork and FEMA reimbursements, as well as a position to coordinate community and volunteer resources.

Assistant County Attorney Douglas E. Manning advised the court he will conduct research to ensure the positions are structured in accordance with existing rules and will have the information ready by the time the workshop is conducted.

“A budget amendment might be necessary,” Manning advised.

The Court agreed when Commissioner Jody Crump remarked, “We need to be sure we specify exact job duties to avoid those positions becoming a ‘catch-all’ when other departments might have something they need done.”

Carlton said he envisioned the two positions to be directed by the Orange County Commissioners Court and reevaluate each position on an annual basis only for as long as the need existed dealing with the disaster paperwork and community resource coordination.