City leaders clash over alert system

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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2020 6:06 am

The power struggle at Hillsboro city hall played out again at Monday’s online city commission meeting.

Commission President Terry Sando pressed his recent proposal to adopt a new alert system for the city called Code Red. 

It led to a continuing war of words with fellow City Commissioner Levi Reese.

Sando said the Code Red platform made it “easier for full-time staff” to control the system, which he described as simpler than the present system, called Reminder, but with more capabilities, including automated severe weather alerts and targeted messages for residents.

Code Red carries a $1,500 annual fee and uses social media to provide public alerts to a targeted audience.

Reese has been the primary user for the current alert system, a role Sando called “proactive.” Sando pushed for the alert system to be controlled by full-time city staff, rather than a commissioner. Reese took exception, noting that some city staff, including public works director Jim Anderson, “didn’t feel comfortable or tech savvy enough” to use the system, so he helped out. Reese insisted that city auditor Matt Mutzenberger “has access to it but chose not to use it.”

“The current system works,” Reese stated. He addressed Sando saying, “Don’t push it back on me not handing it over. It was their choice not to use it.”

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