Jefferson County EMA gets more time from County Commission - Montgomery Alabama news.

Jefferson County EMA gets more time from County Commission

(Source: WBRC video) (Source: WBRC video)

On Tuesday, the Jefferson County Commission decided to give the emergency management agency more time to clean up questions over its operation.

The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is being investigated by the district attorney's office and the state ethics commission.

The center of the investigation involves a warehouse lease which cost taxpayers $69,000 but also housed antique fire trucks of a private non-profit organization for less than $8,000, a fraction of what a lease of the space should have cost.

The chairman of the Jefferson County EMA Council, Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden, negotiated the lease. Oden also is affiliated with the non-profit group.

On Tuesday, Commissioner David Carrington wanted to pass a resolution requiring the EMA council to approve any contracts or grants before the commission acknowledged them. Other commissioners rejected Carrington's plan for now.

"I don't think it's needed now. I thought it was premature to do that type of resolution and give this EMA a chance to reset themselves. Get a little bit more engaged," Joe Knight, Jefferson County Commissioner, said.

"We have been expending public funds for what potentially is not a valid contract. Doesn't that give me concern? Yes. Does that mean we are definitely are on the hook for the money? I doubt it but I don't know," Carrington said.

Carrington told commissioners he had been told by Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner that there are other issues the county EMA other than the warehouse lease which could be a concern for investigation.

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