published Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Bradley County seeks storm recovery director

Debris is seen from a line of destroyed homes at the Willbrook subdivision in Cleveland, Tenn.
Debris is seen from a line of destroyed homes at the Willbrook subdivision in Cleveland, Tenn.
Photo by John Rawlston.

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The company contracted to remove storm debris in Bradley County began its second phase of work Monday.

The crews will make second passes through neighborhoods already covered and add others in which damage was not as severe from the April 27 tornadoes and storms.

The company, Unified Recovery Group, expects the work to take about 10 more days, the Bradley County Commission was told Monday.

Matt Carlson, chairman of the Bradley County-Cleveland Long Term Recovery Organization, said Monday the group is seeking a full-time recovery director and full-time case manager.

The organization is made up of more than 30 volunteer organizations, and more are invited to join, especially because the Federal Emergency Management Agency won’t be in the county forever, he said.

“FEMA will be out of here in a little while, and it will be up to Cleveland to rebuild Cleveland,” Carlson said.

More than 1,500 families have been identified for assistance by FEMA, Carlson said.

The full-time recovery jobs could take three years or longer, he said, and the salaries would be paid from grants and volunteer contributions. The recovery director’s salary range is $40,000 to $50,000, depending on qualifications, while the case manager salary range is between $25,000 and $35,000, officials said.

On Monday, the County Commission approved waiving building permit fees to storm victims. For the 35 or so who already have applied and paid for permits, the county will refund the fees, the commission decided.

Bradley Emergency Management Director Troy Spence said Unified so far has removed 77,000 cubic yards of debris from the county and about 33,000 cubic yards from Cleveland.

That amounts to more than 3,000 truckloads, county Mayor D. Gary Davis said.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation, local road department crews and volunteers also have continued debris pickup.

In some cases, insurance companies are paying for individual property cleanups, Davis said. In those cases, the contractor will not pick up debris, under FEMA guidelines. That would amount to paying twice, he said.

Contact Randall Higgins at or 423-314-1029.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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