Nathan Katschke, chairman of the search committee for a new Lincoln County Emergency Management Services Coordinator, recommended the county offer the position to Eric Holt of Panaca.
Holt, 35, a graduate of Lincoln County High School, is also the son of County Assessor Mark Holt and currently employed with the Nevada Department of Forestry at the Conservation Camp in Pioche.
Katschke made the recommendation on behalf of the search committee at the county commission meeting on Monday.
He said of the four finalist candidates, Holt was the person who was ranked first after the interviews were conducted.
If he accepts the position, Holt would not only be the County Emergency Management Director but have oversight of the Lincoln County Fire District.
But Katschke emphasized that as county fire chief, the person did not have final say over the other local districts, rather would act as a support to them.
Current director and fire chief Rick Stever is retiring Jan. 5.
Katschke said that in Lincoln County the need for emergency services is very great. “We are close to a crisis because we just don’t have people volunteering to do it anymore.”
He said in Panaca for example, at present “there is only one certified EMT who can start an IV. We need someone to head this up for us.”
Part of the reason for the lack of volunteers, Katschke said, is due to the heavy amount of paperwork required by the state after an event. “Usually on an ambulance run, clean-up and paperwork, you’re looking at about six hours. People just don’t want to give that much time commitment.”
But he said Holt did have a pretty good plan for solving that and attracting more volunteers into the emergency services, fire, ambulance, and EMS, but did not elaborate on the plan. “All of the candidates had really good ideas and a great desire to help the county and help improve emergency management.”
Holt does have some emergency response training, but not all of the 14 certificates and qualifications required by the state. But Stever and County Sheriff Kerry Lee said some of the training is available online to obtain the additional certifications.
After lengthy discussions, commissioners voted to start the position at Step 4 on the pay scale. Commission chair Paul Donohue, though, favored having the person start at Step 1, like any other county new hires.
Grants Administrator Eliane Zimmerman said the position is grant funded.
Outgoing coordinator Stever again highly recommended the board consider hiring two full-time people, one as the fire chief and one as the EMS coordinator. But the decision of the board was to go with the full-time EMS coordinator who would also have oversight of the position of district fire chief.
Katschke moved that Holt is offered the position of Emergency Management Coordinator at Step 4. The motion was approved on a 4-1 vote, with chairman Donohue voting no.