Notification Delay Gets Lubbock Council Mad - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/17/03

Notification Delay Gets Lubbock Council Mad

As soon as Texas Tech University knew what was going on, the FBI and Lubbock Police Chief Claude Jones were notified. Then Chief Jones notified City Manager Bob Cass. Twelve hours later, Cass told the mayor and the city council. Some are asking the question: "Why weren't we informed sooner?"

Some Lubbock city councilmen agree they should have known immediately about the missing vials of the Bubonic Plague at Texas Tech. City Manager Bob Cass knew about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, but waited 12 hours to tell the city council.

"I think the Mayor should have least been notified so the city could have one spokesperson when needed," said Councilman Gary Boren. Councilman Victor Hernandez didn't want to go on camera but said this: "This city and anything that happens here is the responsibility of the city council to keep the citizens safe. How are we supposed to do that if we don't know what's going on?," Hernandez said.

"I've talked with Bob Cass and told him he should have notified us that night," said Councilman Tom Martin. Cass agrees. "You have to make these judgement calls. It's kind of like you're in the fog of war. You don't know fact from fiction. You don't want to start talking about something and adding to speculation when you don't know what the facts are," said Cass.

Councilman T.J. Patterson says he was very confident with Cass's decision. "Let those persons handle that, not me. I believe we were in capable hands," added Patterson. Councilmen Frank Morrison sides with Patterson saying the council didn't need to get involved. "I agree this information needs to be conveyed to city Council at some point in time," said Morrison.

"Since I've been on the council in seven months, we really haven't had an opportunity to discuss emergency operation planning," Martin said. That issue has prompted the thought of discussion. "I told the council, we need to discuss how the council wants to be notified on these types of situations like that," said Mayor Marc McDougal.

That's what will happen. Morrison, Boren, Martin, Hernandez and the Mayor say they want to talk about putting a protocol in place as to when the city council should be notified. Patterson was the only one not interested to discuss this matter further. Councilman Ty Cooke didn't return our phone call.

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