Heavy snow and rainfall in recent days prompted Commissioners Daryl Andrews and Charlie Brown to appoint Bryan Husband Interim Emergency Management Systems Director following a meeting of the Clay County Council Monday night.
Geri Husband's resignation and subsequent recommendation of her husband Bryan as successor left the EMS Director position to be temporarily filled by 911 Director John Turner.
Council President Warren Stevenson indicated that in a recent discussion with Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources Area Coordinator Charles Shannon, he learned the county lost out on thousands of dollars by not submitting paperwork to the state for disaster funds for a pre-holiday storm that blanketed Clay County with snow and ice.
"It's phenomenal what she's done," said Councilman Les Harding, praising Geri for her previous work raising what amounted to approximately $12 in funding for every dollar of her salary from the county. "We can't take two positions (911 Director and EMS Director) and make one guy do them."
"It was $15,000-$20,000 we lost that one snow," Andrews informed the Council, explaining that because paperwork wasn't filed immediately, Clay County will receive no disaster relief funds to pay for the cost of damage or extra hours used to clear snow and ice.
At the December meeting, Council members discussed the possibility of not filling proposed new positions or positions left vacant due to budget concerns. But by state statute, the position of EMS Director must be filled at all times, although the person in that position may be a volunteer. The Council did not remove that line item, Councilman Larry Moss pointed out.
With heavy rainfall on Monday creeping over main roads, measures should be taken to prevent missing out on emergency funding should the precipitation levels become more of a concern, Andrews said. Aside from that issue, an EMS Director must be available for nontransport Basic Life Support certification of the Van Buren Fire Dept., an audit with the federal government for Homeland Security and distribution and installment of the Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the Brazil City Police Dept.
While the county is appreciative of Turner's period of service in addition to his 911 responsibilities, Andrews explained it is not his area of expertise.
"He was just given the name and title. No one told him what to do," the Commissioner said. "I hate to see us (the county) shortchanged."
"We need to be brought up to date," said Brown, who recently replaced former Commissioner Buddy Knox. "It's a guessing game."
Following the meeting, Andrews told The Brazil Times that Bryan, who is already employed as a part-time dispatcher at Clay County Jail, accepted the new position effective immediately for an in-terim period of 30 days. At that time, when Commissioners President Dave Parr has recovered from a recent medical procedure, a thorough candidate search will be conducted.
Brown and Andrews met privately to discuss the matter before contacting Bryan and Turner about their decision, Andrews added. "I know based on previous conversations with Dave Parr he's in full support of this decision."
"Bryan served as president of the Fire Chiefs' Roundtable and certainly has been the driving force behind the upgrades to the Lewis Township Fire Dept.," the Commissioner said. "This county would be hard pressed to find two other individuals who have done more to improve the quality of EMS services throughout all of Clay County than Bryan and Geri Husband."
Council President Warren Stevenson and members Rita Rothrock, Larry Moss, Michael McCullough, John Price and Les Harding were in attendance at the Monday meeting.