EMA job interviews could come next week

Staff Writer

Interviews of candidates to replace retiring Clay County Emergency Management Director Kerrie Blissard-Gentry could be done as early as next week, the chairman of the emergency oversight committee says.

It's part of an aggressive timetable to try to have a person on board by next month so they can work with Gentry-Blissard for at lest a short time before she leaves.

The 29-year veteran of emergency management is retiring June 30, but is taking accumulated leave for much of June.

"Our goal is to bring the best candidate possible to y'all," Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott, who also chairs the Emergency Management Council, told West Point Selectmen. "We've been lucky having good people in place all these years and we want to continue and build on that."

The application deadline is Friday and the committee will review the applications and narrow the field for interviews potentially as early as next week, Scott said.

Three Emergency Management directors from other counties will be asked to conduct the interviews and help with recommendations although Selectmen and County Supervisors are encouraged to sit in, Scott said.

The goal is to make a recommendation by early May so Supervisors can consider it May 7 and Selectmen May 8.

The director oversees a $91,000 budget which includes salary, supplies, training and a variety of other expenses. The budget falls under West Point city government and 15 percent to 20 percent of the job is assisting with fire department administration.

The city and county hope to hire someone already EMA certified so they "will be that much ahead of the game," Scott said.

Among other things, the certification assists in applying for state and federal emergency management grants. The city also receives a $21,000 reimbursement from the state if the director is certified, Mayor Robbie Robinson said.