Though already an existing and fully functional office, Manchester Township Council members voted to codify the duties of the Office of Emergency Management.
An ordinance outlining the responsibilities of the office and guidelines for its leaders was introduced at the council's Sept. 24 regular meeting. On Monday evening, council members voted to approve putting that information into the township code.
"This clearly spells out the Emergency Management Coordinator and his function as far as fire departments and first aid squads, so we needed to clarify that," Clerk Sabina Skibo said when the ordinance was introduced last month.
The ordinance is required now because, "at some point in 1996, it was taken out and we need to put it back into our code book," Skibo said in September.
Council members did not offer comment and no members of the public spoke when asked by Council President Craig Wallis if they wanted to comment on the ordinance before the vote.
Among the duties of the coordinator, a position currently held by Arthur Abline, are taking responsibility for "the planning, organization and direction of specific emergency management operations" and coordinating township departments for the development of emergency management programs, the ordinance states.
The coordinator is also responsible to study and recommend changes to organizations and structures of the Division of Emergency Services, which consists of Manchester's three fire companies, two first aid squads and the Community Emergency Response Team, according to the ordinance.
Numerous other duties are outlined in the ordinance, including developing and conducting drills, create training programs and coordinate the township's emergency service organizations in an emergency.
The Emergency Management Coordinator and Deputy, appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, staff the office for three and one year terms, respectively. The Deputy, recent appointee Marisa Wilkins, will serve as coordinator in Abline's absence, according to the ordinance.