County seeks partnership with city

By Staff
July 31, 2004
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Lauderdale County supervisors want to talk with city officials about how to operate an joint emergency management agency.
District 4 Supervisor Joe Norwood and District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt said Friday that the details have not been worked out.
Clarence Butler is Lauderdale County's volunteer fire department coordinator, Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency director and Lauderdale County's homeland security officer.
Former Meridian Fire Chief H.C. "Bunky" Partridge is director of Meridian's department of homeland security.
Norwood said no decision has been made about who would ultimately be in charge in the event of a major county-wide emergency. He said Butler has done an "outstanding job," but added he thinks it's too much responsibility for one person.
Hitt said the board is looking at the possibility of forming a single Meridian/Lauderdale County Emergency Management District. Although the county's emergency management agency has jurisdiction over the county's municipalities, Hitt said the arrangement hasn't worked well in the past.
In January, Gov. Haley Barbour switched the state's homeland security emphasis from one of first response, under direction of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, to one of prevention, under the guidance of the department of public safety.
Several Lauderdale County volunteer firefighters told supervisors at a work session Thursday that they do not want to see Butler replaced. They plan to be at Monday's meeting of the supervisors.
The issue is not on the board of supervisors' agenda for Monday's meeting. Calls to Butler's and Partridge's offices were not immediately returned Friday.
Items on Monday's agenda include:
A request to hire a deputy for the county's juvenile detention center; and
A request to approve a program using the county's health provider to receive discounts on the cost of medical care and prescriptions for inmates in the county jail.

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