published Monday, March 7th, 2011

Lamb gets another go at Marion hazard plan

By Ryan Lewis/Correspondent

JASPER, Tenn.—Marion County commissioners have unanimously approved Steve Lamb to create the county’s hazard mitigation plan, again.

The board originally agreed in October to hire Lamb for the position, but county officials later found problems with the selection process.

“We found out after that action was taken that the grant [that pays for the position] requires the request of proposals to do the hazard mitigation plan,” Marion County Attorney Billy Gouger said. “We sent requests to more than 20 engineering firms in the Southeast Tennessee area, and we only received one proposal. That was from Mr. Lamb.”

The county did receive one other response, Gouger said, which was a letter respectfully declining to submit a proposal.

“Nobody else responded by the deadline,” he said. “So Mr. Lamb is the only interested party in preparing this hazard mitigation plan.”

Lamb has worked as the county’s emergency management director for nearly 17 years, and officials said the county is required by law to have a hazard mitigation plan.

“I feel like I’m qualified to do it,” Lamb said in October. “I work in the background a lot. You don’t see me unless there’s a disaster, but I spend a lot of time working in the county maintaining the current emergency management plan.”

The hazard mitigation plan will involve identifying vulnerabilities throughout the county and then creating a comprehensive plan to correct those issues.

Once the improvement plan is in place, the county will be eligible for state and federal grant money to make the corrections, officials said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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