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County Emergency Management Coordinator and County Fire District Chief Rick Stever has announced his retirement. His last day will be Jan. 5, 2018.

County Emergency Management Coordinator and County Fire District Chief Rick Stever has announced his retirement.

At the meeting on Monday, he told county commissioners his last day will be Jan. 5, 2018. “I’m dropping my keys somewhere upon instruction.”

Stever has been the county Emergency Management director since 2009. The position of chief of the county fire district was added a few years later, after being mandated by FEMA and the U.S. government.

In discussions with commissioners, Stever said he believes there ought to be to be two separate positions. “There is enough work for both full times.”

He had mentioned this before to the commission board, but no definite action had been taken. Now that Stever has given a specific date for his retirement, the board will have to address the question.

Board members wrestled for some time at the meeting with the idea of having two separate positions or leaving it as a combined position. In the end, they made no decision, wanting to consider a little longer what direction to take.

At present, the district fire chief is a non-paid position because it has been part of the work done by Stever, is built into the budget for the Emergency Management Coordinator, “and no reason why it can’t be a separate position,” he said.

Stever says, “The funds are there for a separate fire chief, and it should be that way.” He said he has been having a great deal of difficulty trying to keep up with the workload that both jobs entail, “especially with a lot of the new requirements and paperwork needed for the grant funding received.”

However, the responsibilities of a county fire district chief would require a person with considerable experience in that field.

In the meantime, Stever said he has already talked with a few people who might be interested in being Emergency Management Coordinator.