Yakima City Leaders Looking to End Partnership With Office of Em - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima City Leaders Looking to End Partnership With Office of Emergency Management

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The City of Yakima has a partnership with the county's Office of Emergency Management to help out when there is an overwhelming disaster, but now city officials are looking to end that agreement with the agency. The City of Yakima has a partnership with the county's Office of Emergency Management to help out when there is an overwhelming disaster, but now city officials are looking to end that agreement with the agency.

YAKIMA, WA - The City of Yakima has a partnership with the county's Office of Emergency Management to help out when there is an overwhelming disaster, but now city officials are looking to end that agreement with the agency.

Staff at the Office of Emergency management are now just waiting to hear what the final word is on the contract they've had with the city for 30-years.

City officials said Yakima's population is too big and the office is not providing the proper service they city needs, so they want to take matters into their own hands.

"It's a wait and see thing.  I understand the city of Yakima is growing and they see the need to do some things differently, but working together when something big happens is key to the city's success," Said Jim Hall, Director of the Office of Emergency Management.

If a big disaster happens in Yakima, the office is there to help clean up the mess, but soon that might change as city officials look to end the 30-year agreement with the agency.

"It has changed very little of any in those 30 years and so we're looking at is today's need rather than the need 30 years ago," said Yakima Fire Chief Bob Stewart.

The office works with the county and all 14 cities within county lines; about 250,000 people.

But as the population grew, so did the need.  If the agreement ends that is large financial and personnel loss for the office.

"It would probably eliminate another position in the office. Budget cuts and grant reductions have reduced us from five to three already," Hall said.

And now the city has a new gang free initiative manager who has emergency management experience so that would help the city without the office getting involved.

"The city manager felt we could utilize those skills in order to build up a robust emergency management program for the city," Chief Stewart said.

But no decisions are set in stone yet and office staff are left just waiting.

"A lot of unknowns yet, we're still in the decision making process and we'll see where it goes.  I have no idea what the plan is right now," Hall said.

Now the city council was supposed to make a decision on the agreement at their last meeting on Tuesday, but they pushed it back to their next meeting.

Jim Hall with the office said they have tried talking with the city before about this, but they are always pushed to the back burner.

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