County begins new EMD search

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 12/26/19

HERMANN — The search has begun for a new emergency management director for Gasconade County.

Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, announced the effort to find a successor to …

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County begins new EMD search

Posted

HERMANN — The search has begun for a new emergency management director for Gasconade County.

Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, announced the effort to find a successor to outgoing Emergency Management Director (EMD) Kris Bayless of Owensville at Thursday’s County Commission session. Miskel said Bayless had formally submitted his resignation, effective at the end of the year.

Bayless and his assistant, wife Theresa Bayless, were told by the Commission during a recent closed meeting that there would be a change in management of the county’s emergency response program. Miskel Thursday again declined to comment on the reason for the change in the EMD post, noting only that it is a personnel move.

The presiding commissioner noted that as of Thursday morning one resume had been received and one telephone call had been received regarding the position. The EMD position is a key post in county government not only because it plans for and coordinates response to such incidents as flooding, tornadoes and other natural disasters, but also because it works closely with Ameren Missouri emergency planners to prepare for a possible incident at the utility’s Callaway Nuclear Power Plant.

Gasconade County is one of several counties contained in the power plant’s radiation zone. Because of the close relationship between Ameren and the EMDs of the counties within the radiation zone, there is much interest being shown by Ameren in the change in EMDs in Gasconade County.

Miskel said Thursday morning that he and Associate Commissioners Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, and Jim Holland, R-Hermann, will assume the duties of emergency planning until a new EMD is on board. The target date for having a new EMD in place is mid-January.

The county administrators’ weekly session was delayed until late morning to allow them to attend the annual State of the District meeting of Gasconade County R-1 School District. At that gathering, Superintendent Scott Smith discussed the condition of the district with several city, county, state and federal elected officials or their staff members.

Meanwhile, Miskel pointed to state tourism agency figures in touting the local tourism industry. He noted that, according to the state agency, there are 564 jobs in the county related to the tourism industry and that tourism in the county generates about $21 million a year. “I think that’s significant for our county,” he said.

County administrators tomorrow are scheduled to hold a formal budget hearing as part of the annual effort to craft an operating plan for the coming year — a process that will be more daunting this time around because of lower-than-expected sales tax dollars received during this year. The hearing Thursday is the latest step in County Clerk Lesa Lietzow and her staff in assembling budget requests from the various county government offices and weighing them against project revenue.

While county governments’ fiscal years begin Jan. 1, third-class counties such as Gasconade County have until Jan. 31 to adopt an operating budget. If a new budget is not in place by that time, counties operate under previous budget figures.

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