Administrative Policies - Policy 0024

State of Vermont
Agency of Administration
Department of Buildings & General Services

Policy 0024

Title: Continuity of Government
Date of Issue:September 13, 2002
Supersedes:

PURPOSE

The objective of this Policy is to define a process to prepare for the continuity of state government and continuity of services in the event of an emergency. This policy provides direction and establishes notification processes in the event an emergency occurs and a continuity plan must be implemented.

Title 29 V.S.A. section 171 (e) states:

(e) The commissioner of buildings and general services is responsible for the protection of state facilities, the lands upon which the facilities are situated, and the occupants of those facilities, which is vital to sustaining the essential services of government in an emergency. The commissioner shall develop plans for continuity of government and continuity of operations as an addendum to the state emergency operations plan maintained by the department of public safety, division of emergency management and referenced in 20 V.S.A. section 8(b)(2).

DEFINITIONS

CAD: Commissioner/Agency Secretary/Department Head

Continuity of Government (COG): Continuity of government (COG) is defined as the ability of the state to:

  1. Ensure the line of political succession in order to maintain the effective and constitutional operation of government.
  2. Ensure that mission critical services, programs, and facilities are identified and that operational plans exist to enable services to continue.
  3. Ensure that the infrastructure exists that will allow mission critical services to be delivered to Vermont's residents.

Continuity of Operations Plan: (COOP):  A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) is a detailed emergency plan, beginning at the lowest business unit and rolling up to the agency/department level that outlines the specific steps necessary to carry out the business unit/ agency/department's plan for maintaining services in the event of an emergency. It is designed to deal with any event, whether anticipated or unanticipated (i.e. blackout, flood) which disrupts the normal course of business operations at any location.

DEC: Department Emergency Contact

The COOP will identify mission critical programs, staff, procedures for contacting staff, equipment necessary to operate, off-site locations and any other information determined necessary by the Commissioner of BGS. By defining resources, actions, tasks and data required to manage a COOP, each Agency/Department will be able to ensure that their organization is prepared to respond to an interruption in services.

Mission-Critical Function:
-The State of Vermont defines a "Mission Critical Function" as a direct public service, the cessation of which would immediately affect the safety, health, subsistence, and welfare of the public, or which would have such a financial impact that the ability of state government to operate would be curtailed.

Mission-Critical Service:
-The State of Vermont defines a "Mission Critical Service" as the operational aspect of a more global function. For example, a Mission Critical Function for SRS might be to ensure the safety of abused children. The "service" derived from that function is the investigation of child abuse complaints.

SAS: State Alternate Site

Worksite: The "worksite" is the location from which a function and/or a service is delivered.

POLICY

Every agency/department shall develop a detailed COOP for their department and individual worksites. Copies of these plans shall be maintained at the work site and the department's central administrative office. Two copies shall also be filed with the Director of the Division of State Security. At a minimum the following areas must be addressed.

  • Mission Critical Functions and Services
  • Communications:
  • Evacuation Plans
  • Response Teams
  • Critical Personnel
  • Worksite(s)
  • Relocation Plans

Each COOP shall be updated every two (2) years.

COOP must be field tested at least twice per year. The agency/department's Emergency Coordinator must submit verification of field-testing to the Director of State Security.

In the event of evacuating a building, emergency plans shall be reviewed within two working days of the evacuation. Any written changes shall be posted to all employees and filed with the Director of State Security.

PROCEDURES

  1. Mission Critical Function and Services

While all government functions are essential in that they serve the public good, choices must be made in emergency situations as to which of those functions are essential to be maintained. For example, it is clear that correctional facility security must be ensured while the issuance of storm water construction permits could be delayed until the crisis abates.

  1. Each Department shall identify mission critical functions and services (BGS Form No. COOP-001)
  2. Each Department shall identify the resources required at individual worksites to carry out these services. In this identification process, a determination must be made whether resources, beyond those routinely available to maintain the ability to function, will be needed. Mission-critical functions and services will be reviewed and approved by the State Security Oversight Group (SSOG).
  1. Communications
    1. Each Commissioner, Agency Secretary, Department Head (CAD) shall ensure that they can be contacted in an emergency. The following contact numbers are required, as applicable:
  • Telephone numbers:
  • direct line,
  • cell phone numbers,
  • pager number,
  • home phone number
  1. Contact numbers for backup personnel shall be provided.
  2. Contact numbers for worksite-specific personnel shall be provided.
  3. Each Commissioner, Secretary, and Department head will identify a Department Emergency Coordinator who will serve as contact and liaison to the Department of Buildings and General Services. This person shall have the authority to develop, facilitate and coordinate the individual department's preparations.
  1. Evacuation Plans

Each work site shall develop and conspicuously post an evacuation plan. Guidance for the development of these plans can be found in BGS form No. COOP-002 State Emergency Evacuation Plans. These plans shall include the ability to account for all employees and be able to transmit any discrepancies to the appropriate responding emergency officials.

In areas/buildings where there are joint tenants, coordination shall occur between tenants to ensure coordinated and smooth communication to responding authorities.

  1. Response Team and Critical Personnel Notification

Departments shall maintain up to date rosters of (1) personnel that would be responsible for coordinating a work site response to an emergency situation, and (2) personnel essential to ensure that mission- critical services can be delivered.

These rosters shall be noted on BGS Form COOP-003. A copy shall be kept at the department's administrative offices and filed with the Director of State Security..

  1. Relocation Plans
  • The State of Vermont maintains an official alternate work site at the McFarland State Office Building in Barre, VT. From this site, the critical functions of state government can be maintained. Necessary infrastructure, with redundancy, is in place.
  • At the local level, departments shall develop relocation plans in the event a work site needs to be moved in order to maintain the delivery of mission-critical services. The following guidelines should be used in determining whether the local worksite should be moved.
    • over 30 days
    • Complete relocation from locale where the work site is located.
  • Consider whether you will be out of the present work site for:
    • Up to 72 hours
    • 72 hours to 30 days
  • Needed items to be include in local relocation plans:
    • Office space
    • Staffing
    • Telecommunications
    • Computer capability
    • Office supplies
    • Client notification
    • Staff notification
    • Miscellaneous
    • Coordination with local EMS
    • Coordination with local Police
  1. Implementation

 A CAD may implement a COOP upon determination that an emergency or unanticipated event exists that threatens to, or actually disrupts services. If a COOP is implemented, immediate notification shall occur as follows:

  1. Governor's Office
  2. Commissioner of Buildings and General Services. The Commissioner will act as the Governor's representative and is responsible to ensure the necessary support and infrastructure is provided including coordination of state resources.

The DEC, or designee, will be expected to be the main contact point between BGS and the affected Department to allow for smooth, orderly, and coordinated communication and insure that resources are maximized and objectives met with the least amount of confusion.

The Commissioner of BGS will be responsible for officially declaring when a COOP is no longer needed. At that time, the COOP will be deactivated and operations can be resumed solely by the affected Departments.

Department Approval:  Thomas W. Torti, Commissioner

Agency Approval Required:  Kathleen C. Hoyt, Secretary

Contact Information

Commissioner's Office

2 Governor Aiken Avenue
Montpelier, Vermont 05633-5801
(802) 828-3314 

24/7 Statewide Security Phone Number
(802) 828-0777

24/7 Statewide Security Pager
(802) 240-0068