Berkeley Lake EMA planning strategies

BERKELEY LAKE - The Berkeley Lake Emergency Management Association will present a general document to Mayor Lois Salter and City Council members in two weeks that will address general guidelines in case of a city emergency.

According to a BLEMA spokesman, the group will then take another 6-9 months to produce an event-specific document outlining what should be done regarding citywide emergencies.

Councilman Walter Anderson suggested distributing one-page reference sheets to each resident with information and instructions pertaining to city emergencies.

Councilwoman Debbie Guthrie also suggested the city distribute a book to all citizens that goes into more detail regarding preparing for, and reacting to, emergencies. Anderson said he would approach "big box sponsors" to help defray the cost of purchasing and distributing the book to every Berkeley Lake household.

BLEMA is made up of city volunteers whose function is to assist Berkeley Lake residents in times of emergency. Each neighborhood in the city community has designated BLEMA representatives.

Council members at odds over new policy

In a discussion continued from the July council meeting, council members butted heads again Thursday night regarding a proposed new policy.

Although Salter believed a consensus was reached in July, council members did not agree. The issue in question was whether council members should individually task city staff or the city attorney without notifying other council members and Salter.

Guthrie said that, as a courtesy, all council members should be notified when individual council members contact city attorney Dick Carothers.

"To me, it's just common sense," said Guthrie, who pointed out that taxpayer money is spent every time Carothers is consulted on a matter.

Councilman Bernie Cohen disagreed with Guthrie, saying such a policy would leave a paper trail that could negatively impact the city under certain circumstances.

Guthrie made a motion that all council members be required to notify other council members when contacting Carothers but should be careful about mentioning specifics that could jeopardize the city in sensitive situations. Anderson seconded Guthrie's motion and the new policy was approved by majority vote.