City still lacks emergency plan

The City department in charge of responding to earthquakes and terrorist attacks has failed to draft a comprehensive strategic plan and develop performance measures almost a year after a scathing city audit recommended doing so.

The City’s Department of Emergency Services has, however, improved in other areas since the May 2006 audit raised doubts that it was prepared for a disaster, according to an audit update released by the Board of Supervisors.

Budget Analyst Harvey Rose, who completed both audits, said that since last year, “the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of DES has greatly improved.”

Although, he said “there continues to be areas of concern, especially regarding DES’s significant delays in implementing the strategic planning process.”

“How do you know if they’re doing a good job? Without a strategic plan you can’t hold them accountable,” Auditor Debra Newman said.

Laura Adleman, spokeswoman for the Department of Emergency Services, said the department has just begun the process to develop a strategic plan with a consultant.

The delay was the result of a change in leadership of the department, a loss of several key staff and The “City’s cumbersome contracting requirements,” according to the audit update. The department expects to have a completed strategic plan by the end of November. The plan will “lay out where San Francisco needs to go over the next five years in the area of disaster preparedness,” Adleman said.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who requested the audit update, said without a strategic plan the department “seems like the body without a head.”

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the audit update in early May.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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