APPLETON - In the wake of the August 7th storms, a lot of people continue to ask why the tornado sirens did not go off in Outagamie County.
Now the county board's public safety committee wants to discuss the possibility of disciplinary measures against emergency management.
The committee met Monday night in closed session.
Every Saturday afternoon, the tornado siren behind Jeff Rodriguez's Appleton home goes off for testing. Now he wants to know why it was silent August 7th.
"What's the use when they simply didn't go off when we needed them? For them to not go off is unexcusable, unexcusable," said Rodriguez.
In response, Outagamie County Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz released a written statement.
In part it says, "At no time did I personally receive reports of tornadoes from trained weather spotters or law enforcement. The National Weather Service did not issue a tornado warning for Outagamie County."
- Click here to read her full statement (PDF)
- Click here to read a timeline of events prepared by the sheriff's department (PDF)
The NWS said it could not see tornadoes on RADAR because they were rain-wrapped.
But county board member Tanya Rabec told FOX 11 there were reports of tornadic activity going into the county's command center that night.
"So there seems to be some type of disconnect where she did not know this information or she failed to act upon it," explained Rabec.
Loeffelholz also said in her statement she couldn't have turned on the sirens anyway, because the repeater lost power and the fuel line was not connected to the generator.
Rabec's response is that Loeffelholz had several minutes before the power went out to turn on the sirens.
A committee decided Monday night it wants to talk with County Executive Tom Nelson about possible discipline.
"The committee said discipline up to termination, ultimately that's his decision, he's in charge of the hiring, the firing and all disciplinary measures. We can give him a recommendation but from there it's his decision," said Rabec.
Nelson refused to comment on any possible disciplinary measures, saying it's against county policy to discuss personnel matters.
Nelson did, however, say there will be an outside investigation into how the storm was handled.
"Even before there were questions related to the early warning system I was thinking ahead about it this is something we're going to be doing once or twice a year and knowing that public safety response is one of the most essential public services this is just something we have to be as good as we possibly can," said Nelson.
Public safety committee supervisor Jim Duncan said he looks forward to talking with Nelson about possible changes.
Jim Duncan: "I think we can rest assured we're moving toward a safer county a better situation.
Duncan told us he will likely meet with Nelson Tuesday or Wednesday.
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