Avery may assist with southern Ind. disaster relief

PLYMOUTH — Marshall County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director Clyde Avery is prepared to assist with southern Indiana disaster relief, if needed.
Avery mentioned in the county commissioners meeting Monday that he had received a call from a district task force Saturday, warning him that he might be deployed to the lower part of the state following the tornados that wrecked havoc on several towns in the area.
“My primary responsibility would be as logistics chief,” said Avery in an interview later. “(Emergency personnel) have now gone from a response mode to a recovery mode, and they need to find resources for debris cleanup and getting their critical infrastructure — such as utilities — back online.”
Avery explained further that he would be relieving local departments and giving them a chance to rest, or filling in gaps where local personnel were understaffed.
“We aren’t there to take over,” added Avery.
Avery said that he was notified in fall of 2011 by the task force that he might be needed to assist with flooding on the East Coast. In that instance, he was never called to action.
If Avery does travel to southern Indiana, it will be the first time he has done so on behalf of the task force. The commissioners passed a motion to approve Avery’s travel if his assistance is needed.
Commissioner Jack Roose later praised Avery’s work:
“You’ve done a lot for the county, and it’s my personal opinion that we need to find a way to compensate you better,” said Roose to Avery. “You’ve put a lot of hard work in, and used a lot of your personal time. Hopefully we can get together with the council and come up with a better way to compensate you.”
In other business:
• County employees’ cell phones may be upgraded to the Samsung Rugby, a device apparently more apt to withstand accidents according to human resources director Debbie Palmer. Palmer notified the commissioners that an AT & T representative had contacted her regarding the free upgrade. She believes that the county would have to sign a new two-year contract in order to receive the upgraded phones. The commissioners approved the contract pending county attorney Jim Clevenger’s review.
• Commissioner Kevin Overmyer mentioned that the clerk’s office would be mailing out 29,000 postcards to county residents notifying them of the recent precinct changes and where they should go to vote.
• The commissioners gave the Marshall County Housing Authority permission to operate out of a vacant office in the county courthouse. The move is planned for April. The MCHA office is currently located on North Michigan Street.