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County Council Discusses Storm Recovery; 2 Members Clash Over Irma Information

By on September 21, 2017 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL – A report on Hurricane Irma recovery efforts at the Volusia County Council meeting on Thursday turned into a heated discussion between Council members over how County staff responded with information during the storm.

During a briefing from County officials on restoration efforts, Councilwoman Heather Post criticized County Manager Jim Dinneen because she believes he did not provide timely information to her in the midst of the hurricane. Post said that she wasn’t able to provide information to the people from her district during the storm, and she felt that information was purposefully being withheld from her.

“During the hurricane, the intentional withholding of information and disregard for elected officials by the County Manager, and of County staff by direction of the County Manager, was appalling to me,” says Post. “I expected to be in the loop. This did not happen, and in fact, it was thwarted and denied.”

Other council members said they had the complete opposite experience from Post. They claimed that they were provided timely information from the County Manager and County staff during Hurricane Irma.

Dinneen explained that he believes his responsibility is to the Council as a whole and not to any one individual member. He says that when he met with Post to discuss the situation, she was argumentative and would not let him speak. “Out of respect for her position, I showed, I consider, enormous restraint (if you know me), by ending the meeting and walking out,” said Dinneen.

The Council did move on to discuss the matters of helping Volusia recover from the storm. Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge called Irma a “record-breaking storm.” He says a bright spot for restoration is that power restoration has been completed. “As soon as the power comes up, then the recovery is just that much easier to deal with,” says Judge.

Debris removal was another important discussion item for recovery efforts. The Council explored the possibility of creating free debris reduction sites so that residents and local companies can drop of debris from the storm in Volusia County. Council moved to research sites that would be suitable for debris reduction sites.

Mosquito control will also be an increasingly larger issue to tackle with all the standing water that is left over from the storm. Judge says Volusia County Emergency Management is asking community members to get out and drain any standing water throughout the community, since standing water is a perfect habitat for mosquitoes.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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