21. Disaster preparedness commission established; meetings; powers and duties. 1. There is hereby created in the executive department a disaster preparedness commission consisting of the commissioners of transportation, health, division of criminal justice services, education, economic development, agriculture and markets, housing and community renewal, general services, labor, environmental conservation, mental health, parks, recreation and historic preservation, corrections and community supervision, children and family services, homeland security and emergency services, and people with developmental disabilities, the president of the New York state energy research and development authority, the superintendents of state police and financial services, the secretary of state, the state fire administrator, the chair of the public service commission, the adjutant general, the office of information technology services, and the office of victim services, the chairs of the thruway authority, the office for the aging, the metropolitan transportation authority, the port authority of New York and New Jersey, the chief professional officer of the state coordinating chapter of the American Red Cross and three additional members, to be appointed by the governor, two of whom shall be chief executives. Each member agency may designate an executive level officer of that agency, with responsibility for disaster preparedness matters, who may represent that agency on the commission. The commissioner of the division of homeland security and emergency services shall serve as chair of the commission, and the governor shall designate the vice chair of the commission. The members of the commission, except those who serve ex officio, shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this article but shall receive no additional compensation for services rendered pursuant to this article.
2. The commission, on call of the chairperson, shall meet at least twice each year and at such other times as may be necessary. The agenda and meeting place of all regular meetings shall be made available to the public in advance of such meetings and all such meetings shall be open to the public. The commission shall establish quorum requirements and other rules and procedures regarding conduct of its meetings and other affairs.
3. The commission shall have the following powers and responsibilities:
a. study all aspects of man-made or natural disaster prevention, response and recovery;
b. request and obtain from any state or local officer or agency any information necessary to the commission for the exercise of its responsibilities;
c. prepare and, as appropriate, revise a state comprehensive emergency management plan. The commission shall report all revisions to such plan by March thirty-first of each year to the governor, the legislature and the chief judge of the state, unless a current version of the plan is available to the public on the website of the division of homeland security and emergency services. In preparing such plans, the commission shall consult with federal and local officials, emergency service organizations including both volunteer and commercial emergency response organizations, and the public as it deems appropriate. To the extent such plans impact upon administration of the civil and criminal justice systems of the state, including their operational and fiscal needs in times of disaster emergency, the commission, its staff and any working group, task force, agency or other instrumentality to which it may delegate responsibility to assist it in its duties shall consult with the chief administrator of the courts and coordinate their preparation with him or her or with his or her representatives;
d. prepare, keep current and distribute to chief executives and others an inventory of programs directly relevant to prevention, minimization of damage, readiness, operations during disasters, and recovery following disasters;
e. direct state disaster operations and coordinate state disaster operations with local disaster operations following the declaration of a state disaster emergency;
f. (1) unless it deems it unnecessary, create, following the declaration of a state disaster emergency, a temporary organization in the disaster area to provide for integration and coordination of efforts among the various federal, state, municipal and private agencies involved. The commission, upon a request from a municipality and with the approval of the governor, shall direct the temporary organization to assume direction of the local disaster operations of such municipality, for a specified period of time not to exceed thirty days, and in such cases such temporary organization shall assume direction of such local disaster operations, subject to the supervision of the commission. Upon the expiration of the thirty day period the commission, at the request of the municipality, may extend the temporary organization's direction of such local disaster operations for additional periods not to exceed thirty days. The commission, upon a finding that a municipality is unable to manage local disaster operations, may, with the approval of the governor, direct the temporary organization to assume direction of the local disaster operations of such municipality, for a specified period of time not to exceed thirty days, and in such cases such temporary organization shall assume direction of such local disaster operations, subject to the supervision of the commission. Upon expiration of the thirty day period the commission, after consultation with the municipality, and with the approval of the governor, may extend the temporary organization's direction of such local disaster operations for additional periods not to exceed thirty days. In such event, such temporary organization may utilize such municipality's local resources, provided, however, that the state shall not be liable for any expenses incurred in using such municipality's resources. The state shall not be liable for the expenses incurred in using third party, non-state resources deployed to the affected area by the temporary organization, which are necessary to protect life and safety;
(2) The state incident management team shall have the authority to act as the operational arm of the temporary organization. When called to duty and deployed by the state, members of any state or local incident management team shall be deemed temporary employees of the state and shall have the same privileges and immunities afforded to regular state employees, subject to the rules and regulations promulgated by the president of the state civil service commission pursuant to section one hundred sixty-three of the civil service law;
g. assist in the coordination of federal recovery efforts and coordinate recovery assistance by state and private agencies;
h. provide for periodic briefings, drills, exercises or other means to assure that all state personnel with direct responsibilities in the event of a disaster are fully familiar with response and recovery plans and the manner in which they shall carry out their responsibilities, and coordinate with federal, local or other state personnel. Such activities may take place on a regional or county basis, and local and federal participation shall be invited and encouraged;
i. submit to the governor, the legislature and the chief judge of the state by March thirty-first of each year an annual report which shall include but need not be limited to:
(1) a summary of commission and state agency activities for the year and plans for the ensuing year with respect to the duties and responsibilities of the commission;
(2) recommendations on ways to improve state and local capability to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters;
(3) the status of the state and local plans for disaster preparedness and response, including the name of any locality which has failed or refused to develop and implement its own disaster preparedness plan and program; and the extent to which all forms of local emergency response assets have been included, and accounted for in planning and preparation for disaster preparedness and response; and
j. develop public service announcements to be distributed to television and radio stations and other media throughout the state informing the public how to prepare and respond to disasters. Such public service announcements shall be distributed in English and such other languages as such commission deems appropriate.
4. All powers of the state civil defense commission are assigned to the commission.
5. The state office of emergency management within the division of homeland security and emergency services shall serve as the operational arm of the commission and shall be responsible for implementing provisions of this article and the rules and policies adopted by the commission. The director of the state office of emergency management within the division of homeland security and emergency services shall exercise the authority given to the disaster preparedness commission in section twenty-nine of this article, to coordinate and direct state agencies and assets in response to a state disaster emergency, through their respective agency heads, on behalf of the governor and the chair of the disaster preparedness commission, when the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the chair of the disaster preparedness commission are incapacitated or without an available means of reliable communication with the state office of emergency management. If the director of the state office of emergency management is unable to exercise this authority, then the executive deputy commissioner of the division of homeland security and emergency services shall act in this capacity. In the event that the executive deputy commissioner is unable to exercise this authority, then such authority shall be exercised by the official willing and able to do so in the following order: the superintendent of the division of state police; the state fire administrator; or the director of the office of counterterrorism within the division of homeland security and emergency services. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the authority of the governor, lieutenant governor, or the chair of the disaster preparedness commission to oversee the director of the state office of emergency management within the division of homeland security and emergency services or any official exercising authority given to the disaster preparedness commission in section twenty-nine of this article.
Last modified: February 3, 2019