In its 21-minute meeting Monday night, Warsaw's Common Council approved its participation in the Kosciusko County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Ed Rock, the county's emergency preparedness director, briefly explained the key components of the plan, which must be updated every five years. With input from members of a committee representing every part of the county, the plan contains a list of projects that would either eliminate or greatly reduce the impact of a disaster situation. For example, items like flood control devices along lakes and streams are on the list.

Rock said that without the list, the county and participants in the plan would lose eligibility for Federal Emergency Management Agency-issued flood insurance, and it would affect the ability of private citizens to get or keep FEMA insurance. The plan is also necessary as a condition of obtaining grants to pay for mitigation projects.

Had the council opted to not join in the plan, it would have been necessary for the city to form its own committee to go to the time, effort and expense for drawing up its own plan.

Mayor joe Thallemer asked Rock if the plan was amendable, or flexible, to be altered in case other projects were later identified that might be a higher priority.

Rock said a lot of the plan is "fluff," and items required to be in the plan are more or less a matter of jumping through hoops. He also told Thallemer the plan can be altered, and that the list can be left open on a general basis, and can be made specific when necessary.

In other business, council member Jack Wilhite mentioned a local survey about a preferred route for the U.S. 30. The survey asked if the preference is for a northern route around Warsaw, a southern bypass, modification of the current route to eliminate lights or just maintain the status quo. Results from the survey were not given.

Wilhite said he could understand that once a new route is built, the city could be asked/required to take over maintenance costs of the current roadway.

"That would be a big chunk of our annual budget," he said.

Thallemer, who leads the US 30 Coalition that is studying how to alter the highway between Valparaiso and the Ohio border, said that those costs are part of the negotiations that will take place between federal, state and local officials, but that the city of Warsaw would eventually have to take on that responsibility.

The last item of business discussed came from council member Ron Shoemaker. The council was scheduled to go into an executive session at 10:30 this morning, but Shoemaker said he had discussed the matter with a public access counselor, who told him the council didn't have the authority to conduct an executive session. The meeting was moved to 5 p.m. today, and it’s uncertain if that meeting will happen.

Many times when a local government goes into executive session, it's to discuss personnel issues that aren't talked about privately to ensure employer/employee confidentiality. It's widely speculated today's session would involve two Warsaw Police Department officers and disciplinary action taken over the release of body camera recordings to common council members. The officers were not authorized to release the recordings, and are on paid administrative leave.

The recordings in question involve an incident Jan. 25 with Police Chief Scott Whitaker in which he followed a citizen home, believing the citizen was an impaired driver. While he called for backup, there has been a lot of discussion regarding how Whitaker conducted himself during that incident.

Whitaker recently apologized for his actions in that incident, but stated he wouldn't do anything different given the same set of circumstances.

Thallemer said he would have the city's attorney Michael Valentine check with the public access counselor, and if it is illegal, the meeting wouldn't be held.

• Warsaw Redevelopment Commission's Monday meeting was postponed due to a lack of a quorum. It was rescheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.