KEY QUESTION: What is the county’s role in emergency management?
Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code, also referred to as the Texas Disaster Act of 1975
1. Every county is required by law to maintain an emergency management program or participate in an inter-jurisdictional emergency management program, as stated in Section 418.102 of the Texas Government Code. The county is the “first channel” through which municipalities request resources when their own resources have been depleted. The county forwards any resource requests beyond county capabilities to the state “as prescribed in the state emergency management plan.”
2. The presiding officer of the governing body of an incorporated city or county or the chief administrative office of a joint board is designated as the emergency management director for that officer’s political subdivision. In Texas counties, the county judge serves as the county's emergency management director and has the authority to designate an emergency management coordinator to serve as an assistant for emergency management issues.
3. The county judge or the designated emergency management coordinator must complete a training course through the Texas Division of Emergency Management within 180 days of assuming responsibility of emergency management.
4. The jurisdiction and authority of the county judge includes the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county; if a conflict arises between decisions of the county judge and the mayor, the decision of the county judge prevails.
5. Section 418.108 authorizes the county judge to declare a local disaster within the county. “A declaration of local disaster may not be continued or renewed for a period of more than seven days except with the consent of the governing body of the political subdivision or the joint board…”