Less than three months after taking the reins, Marshall County Emergency Management Director Bryan Crawley was relieved of his duties April 29.
Crawley told WKMS he was notified by Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal his position was being “unfunded” and as of May 13, he would no longer be director of the county’s emergency management office. He said he was told the position would be part-time from here forward and although he was not offered the opportunity to keep the position as a part-time employee, he had previously “made it clear” to county administrators he had to have full-time employment.
Crawley said since Feb. 20, 2020, his first day on the job, he had accrued 180 hours of comp time and he was using 80 of them to spend the next two weeks with his family. After that two weeks, he said, he will return to his previous position as a paramedic crew chief in east Tennessee.
“I wish the citizens of Marshall County the best in their budget crisis,” he said.
WKMS submitted a list of questions to Neal regarding Crawley’s termination and the future of the county’s emergency management office. As of the time of this publication, he has not yet responded.
During the April 29 special-called Marshall County Fiscal Court meeting for a budget workshop, Neal told commissioners the emergency management position is one that’s appointed by his office. He said he’s not going to replace it with a full-time position, there will be a “consolidation of duties and I have yet to identify who that’s going to be.”
Neal also noted during today’s meeting the county is currently implementing a hiring and spending freeze, and other positions in various departments that are being vacated and likely will remain vacant until the hiring freeze is lifted.
Neal released a statement on the fiscal court’s social media page citing budget issues as the reason he made the decision to no longer fund the emergency management director as a full time position.
“This decision was not made lightly and our hope is to move forward with this department in a new way that will allow for more financial flexibility as we work to overcome the current budget issues,” he wrote. “We thank Mr. Crawley for his service in the few months he was with us and understand his decision to pursue other full time employment opportunities for himself.”
WKMS also submitted questions to Commissioners Monti Collins, Kevin Spraggs and Justin Lamb regarding whether or not they were consulted in Crawley’s termination and/or the decision to transition the EM Director from a full-time position to part-time.
Collins said he was not consulted in Crawley’s termination and anticipated the fiscal court members would discuss transition of the position from full-time to part-time during the budget workshop scheduled at 2 p.m. on April 29.
Lamb said he was not involved in the decision making process of his termination and was not made aware of his release until this afternoon. He also noted pursuant to KRS 39B.020, the emergency management director is a direct appointment of the Judge/Executive and serves at the pleasure of the judge/executive's office.
“It is my understanding from this afternoon's fiscal court meeting that budget cuts played a factor in his release and the position has been reduced from a full-time position to a part-time position,” he added.
Spraggs also confirmed he was not involved in the decision to terminate Crawley nor the decision to transition that position from full-time to part-time.
In January, Curtner announced his termination in a social media post and the information was confirmed later that day with a press release issued by Neal’s office on the fiscal court’s social media page. That press release included a statement made by Neal which said in part, “As advancements in emergency response progress and requirements for more policy implementation becomes necessary to protect our community, we have identified a need for a full-time commitment to the emergency management department.”
Curtner was a full-time director of the emergency management office, but did and continues to serve as deputy coroner and on the county’s rescue squad.
According to KRS 39B.030, the county emergency management director acts as the executive head and chief administrative officer of the local emergency management agency to direct, control, supervise and manage the development, preparation, organization, administration, operation, implementation and maintenance of the comprehensive emergency management program of the county. The county emergency management director is also tasked with developing and maintaining a local emergency operations plan with provisions establishing the organizational structure to be utilized by local government to manage disaster and emergency response, and set forth the policies, procedures, and guidelines for the coordination of all disaster and emergency response in the county and all the cities therein for an emergency, declared emergency, disaster, or catastrophe.
The Marshall County Fiscal Court is scheduled to have the first reading of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020/2021 April 30 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be live streamed on the fiscal court’s Facebook page.