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Northampton studies EMS changes

JACKSON – Changes are afoot with emergency services in Northampton County.

Due to regulations being brought down from the state government, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners will decide later this month as to what shape those changes will take.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins told the Board Monday that as of February 15, the state of North Carolina would not only control the local Emergency Management Coordinator, but will also have final authority over personnel under the EMC.

Jenkins said that basically meant the state would have the final say on such information as salaries for the local people under the Emergency Management Coordinator.

Currently in Northampton County, Ronald Storey serves as both the EMC and the Emergency Medical Services Coordinator. Three of the four proposals given at Monday’s meeting would change that situation and allow the county to maintain their personnel control.

The four options included:

Option 1: having three separate coordinator-level positions answering to the county manager. These would include a new position of Emergency Medical Services Coordinator along with the current positions of Emergency Communication Coordinator and Emergency Management Coordinator;

Option 2: creates a stand-alone Emergency Service Director who would have three coordinators under them;

Option 3: would keep the status quo leaving Storey holding dual roles; and

Option 4: creates an Emergency Services Director who will oversee Emergency Management and has two coordinators under them to handle Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Communications.

After Jenkins’ presentation, Paul Dennison, who serves as an area Emergency Management Coordinator, came before the board to give them guidance.

He suggested that options one and four held the best promise as far as he was concerned and stressed the need to allow Storey to focus solely on emergency management matters.

&uot;I strongly encourage you that emergency management is at a point where you need a stand-alone coordinator,&uot; Dennison said.

Dennison said some of the options would work now with Jenkins and Storey in place, but the Board should plan for the future when both men had retired.

After considering the options, the Board chose to spend more time on the decision.

&uot;We have to start making decisions

based on when you (Jenkins), Ron and others are not going to be here,&uot; Chairwoman Virginia D. Spruill (D-2nd) said. &uot;Give us a couple of weeks to look at this and come back.&uot;

Jenkins said he would place the item on the April 17 agenda for action on the matter.