The Statesboro City Council suspended traditional rules Tuesday evening to immediately adopt an Emergency and Disaster Management Ordinance. 

The ordinance allows the mayor to declare a local emergency and exercise and delegate the emergency powers granted by the Georgia Emergency Management Act of 1981, to include – among other things – the imposition of a curfew, suspension of administrative procedures and fees, circumvention of bidding processes for contracts, suspension of spending policies by the city manager, suspension of code enforcement, and the authority to impose rules and regulations to promote order. 

The powers granted to the mayor and the city manager are unilateral, per the language and commentary by the city attorney 

Under the provision, any emergency declaration ordered by the mayor would have to be confirmed by the city council at a special called meeting or the next regular meeting and is limited to 30 days, unless the mayor extends the declaration and it is once confirmed by a majority of the quorum of city council. 

The language adopted Tuesday is a model ordinance proposed by the Georgia Municipal Association, a lobbying organization that provides resources to municipalities around the state. The adoption of the ordinance required unanimous support by the city council because the council sought to enact the ordinance immediately and waive the standard ordinance presentation formalities outlined in the city charter – including first and second readings, hearings, and public commentary. 

City Attorney Cain Smith told council members Tuesday that the ordinance will allow the city to apply for emergency funds beyond those allocated under county, state, or national emergency declarations. “This sets out a mechanism for utilizing and delegating the powers that are already there under the Georgia Emergency Management Act of 1981. It’s just a much more streamlined and less cumbersome process than before” Smith said.

The ordinance was approved unanimously and takes effect upon signature of the mayor. 

2020_03_17 3_49 PM Office Lens

 

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Jessica Szilagyi
Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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