As many of you saw via the listserv, we had some innovative colleagues in the Dallas/North Texas Area come up with the idea of a mutual aid agreement centered around IT departments. While our police/fire and other agencies we support have enjoyed the benefits of mutual aid agreements for many years, this is the first I had heard of such for IT departments. It made a lot of sense to many of us, given the continued issues we have seen, and will likely continue to see, in the last several years in Atlanta, Baltimore, etc.
Some of us felt left off, just from a distance perspective. Then it dawned on us! We copy each other all the time. The listserv really helps with that process, right? This would be another great opportunity to duplicate something already done. Graciously, our colleagues in North Texas shared their agreement with us. They crafted a darn good agreement in my opinion. Simple in wording. Generic enough to incorporate lots of entities and easily transferable to another group.
Next up, I had to get a couple of partners in the initial effort. Mike Sturm (City of San Marcos) and Shane McDaniel (City of Seguin) were easy targets and agreed this was something we should do and could hopefully benefit from if the need ever arose. We edited the agreement slightly, based on our various attorneys’ opinions and the need to incorporate Texas State University. Yeah, that’s right. Mike Strum recruited a four-year college before we even got the agreement officially started. Great job, Sturminator!
The agreement was passed by my Council here in New Braunfels on October 12th. New Braunfels will be the “host city” for this edition of the IT Mutual Aid Agreement. The host really is a simple role. You just have to be willing to get the agreement started with your Council and then keep track of signing entities and provide contact info to all participating entities in a manner in which they can look it up at any time and make calls in an emergency. It’s part of the beauty of what the North Texas folks created in that there is no real burden on any particular agency.
Seguin and San Marcos already have target dates for their Council approval. In fact, one or both might happen by the time you read this article. Texas State would be next to get a signed agreement approved. Then, it’s on to other local entities. I have verbal interest from Comal County. I would think Guadalupe County and Hays County would be natural next targets. Then you peeps in Schertz, Cibolo, Boerne and other places within an hour’s drive are gonna get some contact. And, to what should be everyone’s surprise, I have already asked Bernie Acre and City of Bryan to join. I know I bag on Bernie every chance I get, but I think most of you know it’s out of a tremendous amount of respect. Plus, I figure it gives me a chance to possibly poach some of his people if we ever got a chance to work with them. I hear he’s got some good folks over there. 😊 😊
If you are reading this and are interested in joining our little interlocal agreement, please reach out to myself or any of the folks mentioned above. If you are quite a bit away and would rather start your own version, let us know and we would be happy to send you a copy of our agreement. Of course, you could also join the North Texas group if you are that way. I am sure they would be happy to have you. There has already been discussion about how we could then take the groups that spring up and somehow allow each group to then join a statewide mutual aid agreement. That would be pretty awesome.
Our esteemed President, Scott Joyce, has also added a great feature to this burgeoning idea. He has had his GIS team create the following map which will show you all the entities that have signed these agreements and their contact info. You can view the map here.
Lastly, a HUGE thanks to the North Texas folks for the original idea. Dale Harwell (University Park), Eric Matthews (Allen), Scott Joyce (Euless), Phyllis Wolfe (Benbrook), Michael Wright (Fate), Taylor Prentice (Murphy) and Neil Cardwell (Forney). I will buy the entire group a beer at the next Annual Conference.
TAGITM Secretary / Treasurer