Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Shakeup for county fire and emergency management roles

 

June 13, 2019



The county commissioners applied a makeover to the roles of fire warden and emergency management coordinator (EMC) on Wednesday. The former will be a part time role with flexibility in selecting fire deputies, while the latter will be brought under the umbrella of the Sheriff’s Office.

The fire warden position, which will be advertised once the annual budget is finalized, will be for 20 hours per week. It will work on flexi-time such that, if the warden is needed at an incident, they will be able to iron out their hours by reducing time in the office over the following days.

The county has $6120 budgeted for the year for a fire deputy position, which in the past has been given to one individual. However, as multiple volunteer firefighters in this county have the qualifications to act as deputy, the warden will now be given the authority to appoint a deputy for each individual incident. This opens the possibility of calling in multiple deputies in the case of more than one fire and will also allow the warden to choose an appropriate person according to such considerations as their proximity to a fire’s location.

The commissioners approved of the idea and also of paying deputies an hourly wage rather than a flat fee. County Clerk Linda Fritz calculated that, if this wage was set at $18 per hour, the county would be able to work deputies for a total of 340 hours across the year.

The EMC position, meanwhile, will now be supervised by the sheriff. Ed Robinson has accepted the role and will work 30 hours each week for Homeland Security and ten hours for the Sheriff’s Office.

Hodge put Robinson’s name forward as he felt he would be well suited to the role, particularly as it combines well with other projects Robinson is charged with, such as ALICE training.

Robinson will still be a county employee and will report monthly to the commissioners, but the sheriff will now be his immediate supervisor. Arranging the role to be split between EMC and sheriff’s deputy allows it to become full time, answering the commissioners’ concern that it is difficult for a good candidate to accept and remain with a part-time role.

The cost to the county to increase the position to full time, factoring in the funding from Homeland Security, will be around $15,000, said Fritz, offering her opinion that this would be “worth every penny”. County Commissioner Fred Devish expressed approval at the appointment, stating that he thinks Robinson has the capability to make himself very useful to the county indeed.

Robinson will transition into the role slowly, giving Hodge time to fill the vacant hours he leaves behind. Meanwhile, a motion was passed to appoint him as EMC and send his name to Governor Mark Gordon for his approval.

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The commissioners welcomed Lynn Budd, Director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, on Tuesday to discuss the role of emergency management coordinator along with Deputy Director Leland Christensen.

Budd walked through the job description for the state-mandated position. “Their job is to coordinate,” she began, explaining that the EMC is responsible for bringing everyone together in the event of an emergency.

The EMC should also ensure the county has a Local Emergency Preparedness Committee, she said, for “bringing the community together to talk about these kinds of plans”. They must contribute to the regional disaster plan, without which the county is not eligible for disaster funding.

The county’s EMC must have knowledge of emergency operations, grant management and logistics and resource management, said Budd. They must organize local training and exercises and coordinate public education and warning in the event of an emergency.

Though the EMC is not a state employee, said Budd, “They are our lifeline to your community.”

 
 

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