EMA Deputy Director

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Supervisors OK new hire for deputy director slot at EMA

By Billy Davis

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Panola County supervisors Monday approved the hiring of a new deputy director of Panola County Emergency Management.

Panola EMA director Daniel Cole recommended the hiring of Justin Maples, currently a Panola sheriff’s deputy, at a starting annual salary of $34,500.

The search for a deputy director came after the September 26 death of director Son Hudson. Cole, 33, was moved into that position in October, opening up the position for his former job.

Maples will start his new job January 1.

Cole said Maples’ resume includes his current position as a sheriff’s deputy and a second title as assistant fire investigator for the department.

Maples has served as fire chief of Courtland’s volunteer fire department and is certified as a Level 1 firefighter, Cole also said.

Supervisors in October advertised the search for Cole’s replacement. Applications were accepted through October 31, and 22 applications or resumes trickled into the county administrator’s office. 

The Emergency Management office is more commonly known as civil defense. The agency may be best known for disaster response but also coordinates with the Miss. Emergency Management office, acts as a liaison for fire departments, and cooperates with Homeland Security, the federal agency.

Maples will jump into a busy job that includes several hats: Emergency Management, Homeland Security, E-911, search and rescue, fire coordinator, and U.S. Census.

The job description included a list of “musts” that included “first responder” experience, grant writing experience, and understanding of the Incident Command System, a reporting system used by fire departments, among a dozen criteria.

Cole recruited impartial parties outside Panola County to weed out ineligible applicants then help him interview the remaining applicants. A point system was used to grade applicants.

“Based on the skill sets required, Justin scored better than anybody,” Cole said. “He has firefighting experience, law enforcement experience and experience as a emergency medical responder.”

Supervisors had said they wanted to allow the interview process to proceed without their input.

County Administrator Kelley Magee sat in on job interviews but did not score applicants, Cole said.