North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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July 25, 1977

Subject:

Civil Preparedness Responsibility of Local Elected Officials

Requested By:

Mr. Richard B. Martin, Jr. Assistant Plans and Programs Officer Division of Civil Preparedness Department of Crime Control and Public Safety

Questions:

(1)
Are Local government elected officials responsible to make civil preparedness plans to cover their jurisdictions in time of emergency?
(2)
Is the Division of Civil Preparedness responsible for civil preparedness planning and testing for local governmental jurisdictions wherein local elected government officials elect not to?

Conclusions:

(1)
No, local government officials are not responsible or required by Chapter 166 of the North Carolina General Statutes to make civil preparedness plans to cover their jurisdictions in time of emergency.
(2)
Yes, the Division of Civil Preparedness is responsible for G.S. 166-8 and G.S. 166-5(a) for planning and testing for local governmental jurisdictions wherein local elected government officials elect not to. However, G.S. 166-11 authorizes the Governor to utilize local government facilities and services and requires cooperation by local government officials upon request by the Governor.

General Statute 166-8(a) authorizes, but does not require local governments to establish a preparedness plan and program, but authorizes the Governor to establish a local civil preparedness agency at his discretion, and states:

"Each political subdivision of this State is hereby authorized to establish a civil preparedness agency in accordance with the State civil preparedness plan and program; and it is further provided that in the event that any political subdivision of the State fails to establish such a civil preparedness agency, and the Governor, in his discretion, determines that a need exists for such a civil preparedness agency, then the Governor is hereby empowered to establish, or to establish through the Secretary of Military, and Veterans Affairs, a civil preparedness agency within said political subdivision."

G.S.
166-8(a), G.S. 166-5(a) and G.S. 166-5(b)(2) read together indicate that the ultimate responsibility for civil preparedness rests with the Governor, thus with the Division of Civil Preparedness.
G.S.
166-8(a) -- See above paragraph.
G.S.
166-5(a)
"The Governor shall have general direction and control of the Civil Preparedness Agency and shall be responsible for the carrying out of the provisions of this Chapter and, in the event of disaster or the threat of disaster beyond local control or when requested by the governing body of any county, city or town in the State, may assume direct operational control over all or any part of the civil preparedness functions within this State."
G.S.
166-5(b)(2)

"(b) In performing his duties under this Chapter and to effect its policy and purpose, the Governor is authorized and empowered:

(2) To prepare a comprehensive plan and program for the civil preparedness of this State, such plan and program to be integrated into and coordinated with the civil preparedness plans of the federal government and of other states to the fullest possible extent, and to coordinate the preparations of plans and programs for civil preparedness by the political subdivisions of this State, such plans to be integrated into and coordinated with the civil preparedness plan and program of this State to the fullest possible extent, within the provisions of this Chapter."

G.S. 166-11 places existing services and facilities of local governments at the disposal of the Governor upon request and in effect, would seem to permit the Governor to establish a local civil preparedness agency utilizing resources of the local government, and reads:

"Utilization of existing services and facilities. -- In carrying out the provisions of this Chapter, the Governor is authorized to utilize the services, equipment, supplies and facilities of existing departments, offices, and agencies of the State and of the political subdivisions thereof, and the governing bodies of the political subdivisions of the State are authorized to utilize the services, equipment, supplies and facilities of their respective subdivisions, to the maximum extent practicable, and the officers and personnel of all such departments, offices and agencies are required to cooperate with and extend such services and facilities to the Governor and to the civil preparedness agencies of the State upon request. This authority shall extend to all disasters and for civil preparedness training purposes."

Rufus L. Edmisten Attorney General

William W. Melvin Deputy Attorney General