By Carol Ann Adamcik
I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you some changes in how we're providing legal services in our Joint Field Offices.
As Administrator Craig Fugate likes to say, FEMA is an expeditionary agency. That means we deliver our programs at or near the sites of disasters and away from permanent FEMA offices.
So, if you're working in a Joint Field Office this year, then you're likely to be working with one of our Deployable Field Counsel or “DFC.” Our DFC team consists of 12 full-time, FEMA Qualification System qualified legal professionals who:
• Deploy on demand—they're our “first in line” JFO deployed
• Maintain a persistent presence in the field; and
• Concentrate on operationally-focused solutions to JFO legal and ethics issues
Members of OCC's Deployable Field Counsel team took advantage of a rare in-person reunion during field counsel training last month in the Washington, D.C., area to pose for a group photo. Seated in the front Row are DFC Supervisor Carol Ann Adamcik, Mike Hill, Rita Sislen, and Charlotte Stewart. Standing in the back are Rosa Rios DFC coordinator, Chuttie Senn, Pat Hogan, Elizabeth Blair, Emery Haskell, Keith Weiner and Jose Morales.
The DFC Program is a significant change to the Office of Chief Counsel's business model, which used to rely almost exclusively on reservists to provide legal support to our JFOs. We will continue to maintain and deploy a small, very experienced cadre of FQS qualified reservists, particularly for longer-term recovery operations.
So, if you're in a JFO this year, please seek out and use your DFC, and, if your JFO doesn't have an attorney on site, then please call or email Carol Ann Adamcik, our DFC supervisor, Rosa Rios, our DFC coordinator, or your servicing Regional Counsel—there's no wrong door in OCC: just call us.
Last, but not least, please don’t forget about the recently published Disaster Operations Legal Reference or “DOLR”—that's our authoritative legal reference book for disaster operations—edited and maintained by the DFC. You can request t hard copies of the DOLR, while they last, by calling the warehouse at 1-800-480-2520. While I hope you need and use the DOLR, the DOLR needs YOU!! Please submit suggestions, examples, experiences, questions, and corrections to the DOLR Team anytime.
So, please use your DFC and your DOLR, and, don't hesitate to call Carol Ann Adamcik, Rosa Rios, or your servicing Regional Counsel—please let up help you on the front end to avoid those needless messes on the back end. See you in the field!
NOTE: We posted a video of this message on FEMA.gov.