The U.S. Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) is concerned about possible confusion regarding what an emergency manager means in Flint, Michigan, with the water conditions -- and is seeking to clear it up.
“One thing must be made absolutely clear: the term ‘emergency manager’ in the Flint, Michigan, situation refers to a fiscal-only function that bears no relationship to the term as it is commonly and universally used on a national and an international basis,” IAEM President Robie Robinson said. “In the context of the Flint situation, emergency managers are actually municipal ‘emergency financial managers,’ (EFMs) established by the Michigan legislature and appointed by the governor to oversee jurisdictions in Michigan that are threatened with financial insolvency.”
For the past 40 years, emergency managers have been those who plan and respond to disasters and crises. In Flint, however, the confusion between the traditional emergency managers and the emergency financial managers has encouraged IAEM to note that the EFMs are not there to cut funds and leave the community exposed, but to help.
The fear is that this confusion will make traditional emergency managers' jobs more difficult in the future if people are immediately distrustful. IAEM hopes to spread the word that the EFMs in Flint are present to assist in finances, whereas conventional emergency managers assist in community safety.