Council’s OK makes new emergency department official

Maricopa's deputy city manager for public safety Micah Gaudet will head the city's new Department of Emergency Management, which was created in January. The department will coordinate emergency efforts between city departments, other government agencies and the community. [City of Maricopa]

City Council has approved shifting some duties from its Fire & Medical Department to Maricopa’s new Department of Emergency Management, which was created in January.

City spokesman Quinn Konold said the new department includes emergency management, 9-1-1 dispatch and code enforcement.

“The department’s goal is to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to our city and residents,” Konold said. “To accomplish this, we coordinate with city departments, community members, local business, non-profits, county, state and federal governments to ensure there is a network of communication, preparation and response.”

The new department operates under the direction of Deputy City Manager of Public Safety Micah Gaudet. Director Josh Bowman is the liaison between the department and the Police and Fire departments, Konold said.

“With the city’s growth, additional resources were needed to accomplish these goals,” Konnold said.

He added that in the next council session, the department plans to present on the natural hazards that impact Maricopa and plans to mitigate those risks.

The Department of Emergency Management will:

–         Implement and enforce provisions of city code to promote public health and safety.

–         Maintain efficient operation and management of public-safety communications.

–         Direct operation and management of a non-emergency communications system, as established and maintained by the city and as authorized by the manager.

–         Make and impose administrative operations rules, procedures and regulations necessary for efficient implementation and enforcement of city code.

–         Be responsible for community emergency preparedness.

–         Serve as emergency-services planner and coordinator in developing and maintaining plans, managing resources and responding to state and local emergencies.

–         Perform duties required by law and other duties the manager may deem necessary.

The Department of Emergency Management director may or may not be filled at the discretion of the city manager. The director will be appointed by Gaudet and may be removed with or without cause. If the position is not filled, a third-party entity or other city staff may be assigned duties of the office.

Council also approved entering into a mutual-aid compact with jurisdictions in Arizona and its Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

The city hired Gaudet, previously town manager in Miami, in September. The 31-year-old was the youngest municipal manager in Arizona. His hiring was part of a reorganization of the city’s Police and Fire departments, as well as its Office of Emergency Management.

The city said in a news release the move unifies public-safety functions “to reduce administrative and analytical redundancies, expedite efficiencies and create data-driven strategies as we work to become one of Arizona’s premier cities.”

The city said Gaudet will work in tandem with the police chief, fire chief and emergency management director to form the Public Safety Command Staff, charged with ensuring public health and safety.

The move comes as the city is searching for a police chief after James Hughes announced his resignation effective Sept. 15. The city recently removed an interim designation and made Brad Pitassi permanent chief of the Fire & Medical Department.