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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
4/29/2009  5:00:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Phyllis Shulman, Conlin Office, (206) 684-8805
Katherine Fountain, Drago Office, (206) 684-8801
Alex Fryer, Mayor’s Office, (206) 684-8358 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jan Drago
Mayor Greg Nickels

City Council and Mayor Agree on New Work Plan to Improve Snowstorm Response
Work Plan will be guided by independent consultant with Council staff participation

SEATTLE – City Council President Richard Conlin, City Council Transportation Committee Chair Jan Drago, and Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that the City will hire an independent consultant to manage a plan for improving the Seattle Department of Transportation’s response to snow emergencies. The decision to develop a more detailed and thorough work plan is the result of the completion of a City Council staff report summarizing additional actions SDOT can take to implement a more systematic plan for managing the City’s response to severe snow and other emergencies.

Among other findings, the report recommends:

  • Develop clear policies and procedures for prioritizing, responding to, and documenting plowing, shoveling, de-icing, and other needs
  • Implement and embrace everyday practice in using the Incident Command System structure to actively manage and make “big picture” strategic and policy changes as necessary during emergency operations
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of SDOT’s Winter Storm Response Plan in comparison to plans from other jurisdictions, and evaluate the department’s overall preparedness for future emergencies and disasters.

“The collaborative efforts between the Council, City Auditor, and SDOT have enabled us to identify more substantial, long-term areas of improvement to the City’s emergency response plan,” said Councilmember Conlin, chair of the Council’s Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Committee. “We look forward to implementation of specific, advanced tools to better manage SDOT’s emergency response, and appreciate the Executive’s willingness to join in getting professional assistance in developing and implementing a work plan for improvement.”

“The Council’s review tells us that SDOT’s After Action Report didn’t adequately address the issues with the snowstorm,” said Councilmember Drago, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee. “We need more sophisticated methods to help us keep our roads travelable and our city reasonably functioning in severe weather conditions.”

“I appreciate the review and agree that an outside consultant can help improve SDOT’s work plan,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “Our mutual goal is to ensure better response in weather emergencies, and that we have the skills and equipment to make that happen.”

The consultant hired by the City will work with SDOT to address the issues raised in the Council’s report. The consultant will also further examine corrective actions identified in SDOT’s After Action Report, identify whether there are other areas for improvement, and develop and assist SDOT in implementing a work plan.

Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Councils website at www.seattle.gov/council. Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on www.seattle.gov/council. Questions about Council news releases can be directed to Kimberly Reason, Council Communications, at 206-684-8159, or by e-mail at kimberly.reason@seattle.gov.

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City Council

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