SIOUX CITY | Local officials vowed Tuesday that the Woodbury County Emergency Management Commission would start meeting as required, but first, they have to figure out who's on the panel.
It's not clear when the commission last met, and there is no official list of members. County Emergency Services Director Gary Brown said the lapse hasn't harmed the public.
"We are in compliance with all our emergency plans. We are not at risk of losing any federal funding from any emergency disaster (declaration)," Brown said.
Iowa law requires each county to have an emergency management commission to direct delivery of emergency services and to meet at least once a year.
Woodbury County has an Emergency Services Department, directed by Brown.
County Board member Matthew Ung, of Sioux City, in his second meeting since being elected earlier this month, brought up the failure of the commission to meet.
"It is an oversight issue," Ung said.
Board Chairman George Boykin, of Sioux City, said he didn't have an answer as to whether anyone on the County Board should have picked up on it.
Under state code, the commission must be composed of three people: a county board member, the sheriff and a mayor from a city in the county.
Sheriff Dave Drew said he was unaware the commission existed and contended he should have been informed about it by an Emergency Services employee. He said the lack of meetings, where the panel would "properly vet" emergency responses, was a problem.
Brown, who didn't attend Tuesday's County Board meeting, said later that he shares the responsibility for the committee failure. He's been emergency services director for 27 years.
"I take my lumps," Brown said.
"It is one of a number of committees that exist throughout local governments, and this one just needs to get brought back online, and we are gonna do that," he said.
Boykin, who is six weeks from ending his 30-year stint on the County Board after losing his re-election bid Nov. 4, and Drew, sheriff for the past two years, said meetings would soon begin. The topic will be discussed again at the Nov. 25 County Board meeting.
Former Sheriff Dave Amick said he didn't recall meeting with the commission for the eight years he was in office, through 2004. Amick is now mayor of Bronson, Iowa, and said he'd be on the commission if desired.
"It looks to like, to me, a pretty simple fix. I'm not sure how it got to where it was at, but things slide over the years," he said.