Wednesday, July 31, 2013

County/City Reach Agreement on 911 Operation

After months of discussion and debate, Winston County and City of Louisville officials have hammered out a new agreement on all management and responsibility of E911.  On Tuesday, July 30, the Louisville Board of Alderman adopted a resolution that creates a newly structured Oversight Committee for 911.  County officials signed  the document last week.

Under  the new structure, the previous 9 member board will be replaced with a 5 member board consisting of the following:

  1. Winston Co. Sheriff
  2. Louisville Police Chief
  3. Emergency Management Director
  4. 1 elected official from city ( Alderman)
  5. 1 elected official from county (Supervisor)

EMA Director Buddy King indicated that a new agreement was necessary for a multitude of reasons, citing the challenges of changing technologies and capabilities and the lack of communication between the County, City and 911 operations under the previous agreement. King indicated that the size and diversity of the previous 9 member board often resulted in the lack of a quorum to make decisions.

Aldermen Eugene Crosby and Dickie Caperton expressed some concern that Louisville Police Chief L.M. Claiborne would no longer be involved in day to day operations of 911 under the new agreement. Mayor Hill and Board Attorney Taylor Tucker explained that the current 911 Supervisor Vera McCarty would now operate more like a department head and would be answerable to the new oversight committee rather than to the LPD Chief but that as members of that committee, the LPD Chief and an Alderman would have input.

Mayor Hill indicated that as City of Louisville employees, McCarty and staff would still answer to the City on personnel matters.Without ultimately adopting this agreement, said Hill, "this will put us on a completely different path as the County has provided a notice of termination of the old agreement." Hill indicated that failing to reach some agreement  could likely result in the County taking over 911, which all parties agree would not be in the best interest of the citizens of Louisville and Winston County."We need to work toward an agreement or allow the County to take over - we are at a pivotal point on this issue."

The Aldermen approved the motion of agreement by a 4-1 vote. Alderman Crosby voted against the motion due to concerns about day to day chain of command issues. The agreement will take effect pending Atoorney General approval. The Board then immediately voted to appoint Alderman Judy McLeod as the City's representative to the new Oversight Committee.