1County Emergency Management Director and County Fire District Chief Rick Stever says he feels there is a need now for a full-time fire district administrator.

He told the board at the Fire District meeting April 6, the job has “developed to the point of it is taking quite a bit of time. There are lot of meeting and stuff that I do not have time to go to.”

He said he thought there was enough money in the budget to handle another administrative person.

On the emergency management side, “There are issues that are developing with the state that if we still want to tie the two functions together, I think the focus should be more to the fire district side. That’s where more of the time could be spent.”

Stever said there is enough work on both emergency management and fire district to warrant another person, and a lot of it is paperwork related. He said,” In other counties where these positions are combined, there is more than one person to do things. If we have another person in an office to do something, it would alleviate a lot of problems,” said Stever.

Commissioner Mathews wondered if such a person could not be attached in some way with the Sheriff’s Department.

Commissioners, who are also the Fire District Board, said they thought it might be better to have a workshop or two to look at the ideas more fully, including job descriptions. They scheduled a separate workshop for April 20 following the next County Commission meeting.

Stever said at present, the two jobs are combined with the pay coming from emergency management.” When the County fire district was created the task was just put on whoever the emergency management director is. “I have tried to bring it along and develop a plan, some organization and recognition. But, it is to the point now, it needs separate attention.”

He explained emergency management in Lincoln County is a “24/7 position responsible to, handling and organizing all emergency incidents, or those that are declared an emergency and following through with the rehabilitation and restructuring after that incident, and also to coordinate with the state. Anything that goes out of the realm of the local governments or the city.” The City of Caliente has their own fire department and is not under the direction of the Lincoln County Fire District unless they are called in to assist.

Stever said he recently learned the present countywide emergency operation plan from 2005 is not in compliance with state requirements and he is in the process of getting that updated. He said they need to be updated every year, and the county’s has not been.

In addition, regarding emergency management, Stever said he would like to place electrical generators in each community for the operation of emergency shelters and center that could be used in case of long-term power outages. “People would have some place to go that has power, for example, if there are people on oxygen machines they can go to a location and be able to plug in if they don’t have a personal generator.