911 director steps down

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners may be looking for a new 911 director following the announced departure of Robert Emmons.

Emmons hand-delivered a letter to commissioners on Aug. 27 announcing the company he owns – Exact 9-1-1 Ltd. – was terminating the contract with the county effective Oct. 1. The contract allows either party to opt out at any time, provided a 30-day advance notice is given.

The letter was delivered the day after a meeting of the county’s 911 advisory committee. In his letter, Emmons praised committee members and emergency service providers he has worked with, past and present, since first being hired by commissioners in 2004 to help the committee develop a final 911 plan.

“This dedication, along with the desire to do everything humanly possible to save people’s lives and protect their property, is undeniably with each of these local heroes,” he said.

Commissioner Tim Weigle, who is chairman of the 911 committee, was somewhat surprised by Emmons’ resignation. “I had a feeling something might happen,” he said.

Weigle scheduled last week’s committee meeting, which is usually done by Emmons, who also helps run the meetings. This time, Emmons arrived just before the meeting started, sat in the crowd and did not participate in any of the discussions.

After accepting Emmons’ resignation, commissioners approved a resolution to formally ask him if he was interested in submitting a proposal for a new contract. Emmons indicated he might be interested in continuing to work for commissioners under a new contract, Weigle said.

Once the plan was developed, Emmons was retained by commissioners to serve as the county’s first and only 911 director to date. His company was paid $142,658 for its services last year.

Weigle said if commissioners are unable to reach a new agreement with Emmons, or if he declines to submit a proposal, they will begin searching for a new person or company to oversee and maintain the 911 system.

In the meantime, Weigle said they have a list of contact numbers for each of the system’s vendors. “We do have the vendors to call if we need support,” he said.

Weigle also pointed out that the county sheriff’s office and the four police departments that receive 911 calls all have more than one work station capable of taking 911 calls should one go off line.

“I don’t think this will leave us in disarray. We’ll have a few bumps in the road but we’ll get through this,” he said.