Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order on Thursday creating a Council for Community Recovery and Resiliency. The governor said at a Capitol news conference that the group would help Kentucky better prepare for natural disasters such as the recent western Kentucky tornado and eastern Kentucky flooding. Council membership mainly consists of representatives from various state cabinets.
“It’s clear that we are seeing an increase in natural disasters with major impacts on our families and our communities,” Beshear stated. He said the council would help Kentucky be better prepared and more resilient so the state can respond and recover more quickly when disaster strikes.
The council is attached to the Division of Emergency Management. Director Col. Jeremy Slinker stated that the goal is to ensure agencies do not duplicate efforts and that “nothing is left on the table.” He said council members would come together and share everything at once, including how they can combine efforts and funds to “attack a challenge as a coordinated team versus an individual agency or department.”
While the governor’s executive order says entities such as the Kentucky League of Cities “may be called upon to provide assistance and guidance in specific areas,” it does not directly include a city official on the council. One appointee from the Department for Local Government (DLG) will be a “local official experienced with disaster recovery.”
KLC Executive Director|CEO J.D. Chaney noted that much of the current recovery underway in western and eastern Kentucky is happening in cities. “We have been at the epicenter of these recent disasters, and I am proud to say that city officials have stepped up and led in these times of crisis. I hope these experienced and knowledgeable city leaders are included in the discussion as the new council reviews the pitfalls and challenges of such large-scale recovery efforts.”
Beshear did not mention the new council when he addressed attendees at the KLC Conference & Expo Thursday afternoon at the Owensboro Convention Center. The governor thanked the hundreds of city officials in attendance for their leadership through the recent disasters and the pandemic.
The governor also spoke about the recent influx of economic development projects in cities across the state, including several factories that will be part of the state’s booming electric vehicle industry. He told city officials they play a vital role in landing those new facilities. “When these companies come in, you are right there to greet them, and you show them your community.” He promised to continue working with city officials throughout the state. “I see what a difference you all make,” Beshear told the crowd.