CSAC Hosts Key State and Federal Disaster Administrators
February 14, 2019
This week, CSAC hosted county supervisors and senior staff from across the state to meet with top state and federal officials to discuss the status of disaster recovery efforts. The meeting provided a forum for counties to share experiences and also hear directly from state leaders about successes, challenges and ongoing recovery efforts. This was CSAC’s third summit since the devastating October Fires broke out in Northern California in late 2017. Since those fires, dozens of other counties have been impacted by tragedy as California faces some of the deadliest and most destructive fires in its history.
CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus kicked off the summit by reiterating CSAC’s commitment to an ongoing partnership with the state government to help counties and communities prepare for and recover from disaster. CAL OES Director Mark Ghilarducci underscored that partnership and expressed the Administration’s commitment to local jurisdictions, and their commitment to continue to work in close concert with the federal government. FEMA Region IX Regional Administrator Bob Fenton also gave a status update on federal efforts and recent changes at FEMA that will help the agency more effectively delivery services. Other state speakers included Cal Recycle Director Scott Smithline, Cal FIRE Deputy Chief of Communications Mike Mohler, and Program Budget Manager Amy Jarvis from the Department of Finance.
At the same time county leaders were meeting in Sacramento to discuss fire recovery, the Governor signed two critical pieces of legislation into law. The bills, AB 72 and AB 73, were fast-tracked through the budget process and will make it easier for the state to reimburse counties for disaster-related costs. They will also provide property tax backfills to counties and other local agencies for fire-related property losses, and provide additional funding to modernize the 9-1-1 system and to assist with emergency preparedness outreach.
Disaster recovery and response issues remain at the top of CSAC’s priorities list for the year. Our ongoing partnership with key state leaders, as demonstrated via this convening, is vital in our continued efforts to provide recovery help and relief for communities throughout California.