Lee County seeks new emergency director

TUPELO – Lee County’s longtime emergency management director has stepped down, leaving a vacancy that officials hope to quickly fill.
Claudia Howard retired this month after 35 years in the department and nine as its director. She was honored for her service during a brief ceremony last week hosted by the county Board of Supervisors.
The board named Lee County 911 Director Paul Harkins as interim director until it can find Howard’s permanent replacement.
More than 50 job hopefuls submitted applications and resumes by Friday’s deadline. All of them will be reviewed by the five supervisors. Top candidates will be interviewed before one is offered the job, said county Administrator Sean Thompson.
The board meets again Dec. 7 but likely won’t make a decision until mid December or early January.
The position pays around $32,000 and involves disaster planning and coordinating.
“It’s somebody I pay to worry about doomsday scenarios and plans,” Thompson said.
Each of Mississippi’s 82 counties must have an emergency management program with a director as its head and must have a comprehensive emergency plan, said Kent Buckley, MEMA spokeman.
They handle hazard mitigation, recovery, disaster response, support services and public information for a host of potential disasters: tornados, floods, nuclear threats and earthquakes, for example.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio