It may not be ‘running lights and siren,’ but our new E911 Board already has a good sense of where its’ going. Last Wednesday afternoon, on the occasion of the Linn County E[nhanced] 911 Board’s inaugural meeting, its members began to appreciate just how demanding their mission is going be. They acknowledged the importance of pursuing their goals in an orderly progression. Meeting in the Linn County Ambulance District Training Room, the newly formed E911 Board decided to give priority to drafting a set of ‘by-laws’ and hiring an E911 Director.
The E911 Board began its first meeting by electing Tom Parks Vice-Chairman. Luke Lewis had previously been named Board Chairman by virtue of his status as the ‘at-large’ member of the Board.
The E911 Board then elected Sean Hill as Treasurer and John Wright as Secretary/Recorder. With regard to Wright’s position on the E911 Board, Hill stressed the importance of keeping an accurate record of the meeting proceedings and offered his assistance in achieving that goal. And in response to comments offered by Jim Bradley during the Citizens Participation portion of the meeting, Chairman Lewis followed suit, assuring there would be a “transparent process.”
Board members have been given sample E911 board by-laws that are currently in use by the Marion, Chariton and Sullivan County E911 Boards. They will highlight features in those texts that would be desirable to retain and return to the next E911 Board meeting prepared to discuss those features in advance of incorporating them into the Linn County E911 Board By-Laws to come.
When last Wednesday’s discussion turned toward the subject of hiring an E911 Director to manage the day-to-day operations of the Linn County E911 system, Lewis acknowledged the necessity of first outlining director qualifications in the by-laws.
“The Director should be the first person hired because he or she will be directly involved in further hiring decisions,” observed Parks.
Hill affirmed, “If we find the right director, he or she will be responsible for all future personnel and structuring.”
Board members will be evaluating existing lists of director qualifications and duties to determine the wording of the director’s job description that will appear in the Linn County E911 By-Laws.
Chairman Lewis pointed out that since the E911 Board would be involved in contractual matters such as those involved in hiring a director, legal counsel would need to be retained. Recognizing that attorneys rarely work without charging a fee—not to mention the fact that sales tax revenues dedicated to the new E911 system haven’t even begun to be distributed—both Parks and Hill suggested relying upon Linn County Prosecutor Tracy Carlson in the interim. “Your prosecutor can legally do so [i.e., review a contract], but you need someone familiar with the issues we’ll have to address,” advised Hill. “He would need to review the by-laws we develop,” added Parks.
Page 2 of 2 - Hill reminded the Board that a P.O. Box and bank account dedicated exclusively to receiving tax revenues earmarked for E911 would need to be established.
Hill concluded that before acting on Lewis suggestion to solicit director applications, he would check with other area emergency response boards to see how they had gone about retaining a director or legal counsel without a budget.
Although establishing some semblance of an identity by adopting a Linn County E911 ‘logo’ was listed on Wednesday’s agenda, little progress was made other than suggesting that local students might be asked to submit ideas.
The Linn County E911 Board has readily recognized the imposing amount of work that needs to be done, and its members have decided to meet on a weekly basis until basic organizational challenges can be met.