MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis has an emergency, an emergency lack of money. Not the time to start your own Emergency Management Division. But that’s what the city is doing, says Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little.
“We believe we can handle it within the existing budget,” Little says. “We already have reduced a lot of money out of my office’s budget. What we will use is vacant positions in a variety of divisions.”
What he's saying is they will take job openings from one office, transfer them to the new Emergency Management Division, then hire some people.
This is all happening because over the years, the city of Memphis has been cutting back on its funding of EMA. Even though both Memphis and Shelby County are supposed to split costs 50-50, in recent years Shelby County funds more than 75 percent of the operations while Memphis is kicking in only 23 percent.
State law says any major disaster will be handled by the Shelby County EMA. Memphis is going to handle smaller storms, trees down, wires down, things of that nature. They will also be responsible for setting off tornado warnings inside the city limits.
Little isn’t concerned, and says “There is an upgrade coming where we’ll have more localized activation should the sirens go off. So instead of turning on every siren in the city because there might be a tornado hitting Millington and perhaps Frayser, we’ll have a more localized and targeted activation.”
The changes will take place starting July 1st. Shelby County EMA is moving to offices near Shelby Farms in East Memphis. The city owns the building where the EMA offices had been located, and will continue to use it for the city’s Emergency Management Division.