Linn County Emergency Management Ignored Help After Derecho
The one thing that we all needed following the August 10th derecho that destroyed much of the city of Cedar Rapids was help. Help in every possible and conceivable way. But according to KCRG, Linn County Emergency Management declined offers of help from other agencies and private companies after the storm hit.
According to emails that KCRG obtained through a public records request, Linn County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve O'Konek denied relief efforts from other county agencies. Those documents also show that O'Konek ignored relief efforts from organizations and private companies. This as thousands of residents were without power and in search of food and shelter.
KCRG reports that in one email, the Delaware County Emergency Coordinator offered to send assistance for people living in Benton and Linn Counties. O'Konek denied the offer of help in his response.
We go whacked. No internet, no cell, we are on a generator. I think we're good for now.
In another email obtained by KCRG, the restaurant chain Denny's reached out after the storm to offer cooked food to those affected by the storm. O'Konek never replied to the email. The help never came.
O'Konek has stated that he refused help from Delaware County officials because he didn't know what the county needed yet for relief efforts. He also stated that it is the job of non-government organizations like the United Way to organize relief efforts, and not the Emergency Management Coordinator who is doing other jobs. O'Konek did admit that there are ways that his department can improve.