Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Hurricane Michael’s death toll rises … ransomware attack for N.C. water utility … and a pleasant budget surprise in California.
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is some surprise news from Juneau, Alaska where the lieutenant governor suddenly resigned. But scroll down for more stories from places like Bay County, Florida (where the death toll from Hurricane Michael is, thus far, not as bad as feared); Donora, Pennsylvania (home to a Smog Museum); and Eureka Springs, Arkansas (where a tour bus operator should be thankful a bridge didn’t collapse).
RESIGNATION | Alaska Gov. Bill Walker swore in Health and Human Services Commissioner Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson as lieutenant governor after the “abrupt” resignation of Byron Mallott after unspecified comments described as “inappropriate.” Walker, who in a statement said he accepted Mallot’s resignation “with profound disappointment and sadness,” refused to go into detail about what led to his No. 2’s sudden departure during a press conference on Tuesday. [@AKGovBillWalker; Juneau Empire; Alaska Public Media]
HURRICANE MICHAEL | Officials in Bay County, Florida, where the eyewall of Hurricane Michael came ashore last week, are thankful that the death toll is not higher considering the number of residents who did not evacuate vacation towns, like Mexico Beach, that sustained catastrophic damage. There have been 12 confirmed hurricane fatalities in Bay County. Overall, at least 30 fatalities have been confirmed from Hurricane Michael across the southeastern U.S., from Florida to Virginia. [The Washington Post]
CYBERSECURITY | In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials at the Onslow Water and Sewer Authority have been working with state and local authorities and private sector security experts after a ransomware attack locked down several IT systems this weekend. Customer information wasn’t compromised in the cyberattack and the public’s water supply is not in danger. [Jacksonville Daily News; WNCT]
CITY HALLS | City Council members in Fall River, Massachusetts on Tuesday discussed the possible removal of Mayor Jaisel Correia, who indicted last week on federal charges of defrauding investors. But the city’s corporation counsel and the mayor’s lawyer say that the federal indictment doesn’t apply to a charter provision for removing the mayor. Correia, who has denied the charges and called them politically motivated, was also recently evicted from his residence. [The Boston Globe; Herald News; MassLive]
FINANCE | A pleasant surprise for California budget officials: Tax revenues for the first three months of the fiscal year came in nearly $1 billion ahead of what was forecasted. [Los Angeles Times]
PUBLIC HEALTH | City Council members in Columbus, Ohio on Monday officially accepted a nearly $118,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that “will be directed to childcare centers to provide youngsters with better access to health foods, more opportunities for physical activity and increased emphases on nutrition education.” [Columbus Dispatch]
INFRASTRUCTURE | The Arkansas Department of Transportation closed a suspension bridge near Eureka Springs for inspections following video showing a tour bus operator driving an overweight vehicle across the span, which sagged as it crossed. The bridge has a 10-ton weight limit. [The Democrat-Gazette / ArkansasOnline]
WORKFORCE | The Seattle Public Schools are still dealing with a bus driver shortage which has led to frustrated parents and students who can’t count on regular service. [The Seattle Times]
AIR QUALITY | Seventy years ago in the borough of Donora, Pennsylvania, located along the Monongahela River southeast of Pittsburgh, more than 20 people died during a three-day toxic smog event, which led to the first federal regulations for air pollutants. The borough is now home to the Donora Smog Museum. [The Incline]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.