|JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Members of a newly-formed commission will spend the next few months assessing the state’s ongoing disaster recovery efforts as well as the preparedness level of state and local government for future catastrophic events. Formed by House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, the Interim Commission on Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery will be chaired by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and will have a membership made up of state representatives and private citizens. Tilley said the state needs to take a detailed look at how it responds to disasters like those that ravaged Missouri in 2011 in order to be better prepared in the future.
“Last year was extremely difficult for Missouri with the tornadoes that hit Joplin and other parts of the state and the flooding that devastated so much of our farmland. We’ve seen communities rally together during the recovery period and it has been inspiring to watch,” said Tilley. “However, we need to make a detailed assessment of the role state and local government have played in this process to determine whether they have provided the best possible service to the people of the state. The disasters of 2011 exposed some of the weaknesses in the state’s plan. We need to learn from those lessons and work together to make certain future disasters are handled in the most efficient and effective way possible.”
“This is an opportunity to dig into the details to make sure the resources we allocated for disaster recovery are producing the results they should for the people of Missouri,” said Kinder. “I thank Speaker Tilley for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to working with the members of the commission to find areas where we can improve our level of preparedness and our response efforts in the future.”
Tilley also named House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, to serve as vice chairman of the commission. Tilley said Schoeller will be an enormous asset to the committee because of the knowledge he gained as chairman of the Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery in 2011.
“It was eye-opening to travel around the state and see firsthand how communities were responding to disaster. We learned a great deal about what worked well and what could be done better,” said Schoeller. “I hope we can take the lessons learned from the recovery efforts in 2011 to improve our response plan for future events. The people of Missouri deserve to know that government is making their safety the highest priority.”
Tilley said the commission will assess the preparedness of state and local government leading up to the disasters, the response to the initial impact of the disasters, and the recovery efforts in affected areas. The commission also will consider the legislative and administrative changes to assist current recovery efforts and improve future disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
The commission will submit a report of its findings and recommendations no later than December 31, 2012.
In addition to Lt. Gov. Kinder and Speaker Pro Tem Schoeller, the commission consists of the following House members: Reps. Don Gosen, R-Chesterfield; Steve Hodges, D-East Prairie; Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill; Sylvester Taylor, D-Black Jack; and Bill White, R-Joplin. Citizen members include Bennie Crossland, Crossland Construction; Morris Glaze, Joplin City Council; Dwight Douglas, Freeman Health Systems; and Jim Honey, Jasper County Associate Commissioner.