San Jose Set to Hold Hearing Over Warning Problems During Historic Flooding - NBC Bay Area
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San Jose Set to Hold Hearing Over Warning Problems During Historic Flooding

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    San Jose this week will hold its first public hearing on what went wrong during the recent historic flooding that forced mandatory evacuations. Robert Handa reports.

    (Published Monday, March 6, 2017)

    San Jose this week will hold its first public hearing on what went wrong during the recent historic flooding that forced mandatory evacuations.

    The city is responding to criticism from many victims, who said they should have received more warning about the flood.

    NBC Bay Area was the first to report on some of those problems, including information shared by the city and water district. Mayor Sam Liccardo also told NBC Bay Area there was a failure in communication.

    Now NBC Bay Area is learning San Jose's overall staffing problems may have caught up with them when the water started to rise.

    Many longtime residents said they had trouble getting flood information early on and were surprised to find out the city's emergency operations center, or EOC, was essentially a one-person unit.

    NBC Bay Area has learned San Jose's EOC was actually less than that for a long time. The job of director of the EOC was vacant for months before Assistant City Manager David Sykes filled in during the crisis.

    And, the county actually provided several of its EOC workers to help.

    The fire department also has two division chief positions and one deputy chief position vacant.

    Liccardo said staffing was not the sole problem, but is a big one.

    "There's no question that if we had more staff there would be more to do, better preparation," Liccardo said. "There's no question we could do better."

    The mayor points out the city has hired a full time EOC director who will start on March 13 and will address the staffing situation.

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