An audit (pdf) conducted by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office finds the state’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is not adequately prepared to deal with a major disaster. The audit cites “deep-seated organizational issues” as the primary source of the problems. The analysis presented in the audit categorized the concerns in three primary areas:
- Inadequate training for employees in OEM
- A lack of a substantial strategic plan around which to organize the agency’s work
- The absence of a relief and recovery protocol in the emergency management plan
In explaining OEM’s deficiencies, the audit notes a high rate of turnover of management, with a complete restaffing undertaken between May and June of 2013. Moreover, OEM faced legal issues related to unfair labor practices that put additional stress on the agency during the course of the audit.
The response issued by OEM took little umbrage with the audit’s claims, but emphasized that the department has already begun to right its course, laying out a series of initiatives to address the shortcomings revealed in the audit.
Has the recent snow storm raised your concern about disaster response in Oregon? What kinds of services would be most important to you in a catastrophe?