The theme of the move may be stated as a “consolidation” of services, but the proposal to combine several county offices into one department with one department head has another driving motive.
On Tuesday (6/12) the Wayne County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee, in a special meeting with the Public Safety Committee, revealed plans to combine the offices of the Emergency Management Operations, Fire Coordinator’s Office, Advanced Life Support Director/911 Technical Projects and E911 Center under one department of ‘Emergency Management Services’.
The move would put the troubled E911 Center under the Direction of current Emergency Management Director, George Bastedo. Current E911 Coordinator, James Lee, would take over as the head of the Advanced Life Support.
The E911 Center has come under fire over the past several years with complaints concerning E911 dispatchers and service. Both civilian and local police agencies have filed complaints against the current operation.
Several months ago it was proposed that the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office take over command of the E911 Center, but that met with considerable opposition, including from several Board of Supervisor members.
The move by County Administrator James Marquette was seen as a way to not only quell the E911 problem, but combine like-minded services in a single department. Marquette said the move would not necessarily result in any immediate cost savings, but could hopefully save money in the future.
Under the plan, Bastedo’s salary would increase from the current $56,600 to $79,000 annually. All other current directors, managers and coordinators salaries would remain the same.
At Tuesday’s meeting Sheriff Barry Virts said he supported the proposed move, especially if it meant more training for 911 operators.
A question arose concerning Bastedo’s membership in the Clyde Fire Department and whether it could cause a conflict of interest with his new, overall position. Bastedo has been a member of the Clyde Fire Department for 30 years. After several minutes of discussion, Bastedo chimed in that he understands the concern about any potential conflict and has really taken a non-active role in the Clyde department and would comply with any rules about potential conflicts in the new post.
Bastedo declined any comment on the new Department, or his proposed appointment, until it is voted on this coming Tuesday (6/19) night (7 p.m.) at the monthly Board of Supervisor’s meeting.