EMA could have new head in matter of months

The Huntington County Emergency Management Agency could have a new director in a matter of months.

The EMA advisory board, meeting in special session on Wednesday, Feb. 6, approved a job description for the EMA director's position and agreed to advertise the job, with a goal of selecting finalists for the position in March.

The Emergency Management Agency has been operating without a full-time director since Brian Topp, who held that position on an interim basis, resigned in mid-2012.

Topp, formerly the EMA's deputy director, was appointed to that position after the Huntington County Commissioners declined to renew previous director Brandon Taylor's contract at the end of 2011.

The position was left vacant as a lawsuit was filed by the EMA board against the commissioners challenging the commissioners' authority to fire the EMA director. That lawsuit has since been dismissed.

Applicants for the position have until March 1 to turn in documents to Erika Devine, human resources director for Huntington County. The EMA board plans to meet on March 6 to select finalists on the basis of their application and will select a subcommittee to interview the finalists.

Wednesday's meeting was called by Leon Hurlburt, president of the county commissioners and the commissioners' representative on the EMA board, in order to move the hiring process forward.

Hurlburt, who also serves as assistant chief of the Huntington Fire Department, was elected chairman of the EMA advisory board on a 6-5 vote.

Chris Newton, chief deputy with the Huntington County Sheriff's Department and the second nominee for the chairman's role, was unanimously elected vice chairman of the board.

Board members also established a meeting schedule, with meetings to be held on the first Wednesday of each month at noon.

Meetings will be held at the Southside Fire Station on Etna Avenue until construction of the Emergency Operations Center at the Huntington County Jail is complete, at which time the board will move its meetings to the EOC.