MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Emergency Management Executive Board met Monday afternoon in special session to discuss the process of naming an EMA director. Deputy Director Brian Hess was named interim director during the board’s investigation into alleged misconduct by former director Marie Blubaugh. She was placed on administrative leave in February, prior to her resignation March 5.
Several board members commented on the excellent job Hess has done performing the director’s duties during the month he has served as interim director. The board asked Hess to remain as interim director while the board follows a selection process for the director’s position according to policy.
Retired EMA Director Larry Hatton; Emily Marth, Knox County human resources/loss and prevention coordinator; and EMA executive board member Claude Gates, will screen resumes for the director’s job, which will be accepted through 4 p.m. April 15.
The three will then take the resumes of the 10 most qualified candidates before the executive board on April 27. The field will be narrowed to five candidates, who will then be interviewed by the executive board.
Board member Richard Mavis said he believes the board’s process for opening the application process before a final appointment is made ensures the person who attains the job will have the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing first against all qualified candidates. Gates said it made sense for the board to complete the application process followed previously to assure all involved in the selection process have been handled fairly.
The board hopes to move through the process quickly, to keep the agency moving forward. Hatton has been hired as a consultant to assist Hess with networking throughout the county and state.
Marth said Hatton has been impressed with the job done by Hess, and has introduced him to EMA contacts and colleagues in other fields. Hatton will be paid $1,200 a month for his work.
Board members raised the issue of the compensation Hess has received for his work as interim director, which is the same pay he received as deputy director.
Mavis suggested following the policy which is observed in city police and fire departments, which raises an officer’s pay to match their responsibilities and the position they are filling; temporarily or permanently.
The board agreed to pay Hess at the pay rate of director, retroactive to when he took over the duties in February.