County hires new EMA director

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chilton County Commissioners hired a new Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director on Monday.

Commissioner Joseph Parnell said after conducting a second interview with the top two candidates, he wanted to make a motion to offer the job to Derrick Wright at a pay rate of $42,050 per year.

Commissioners Allen Caton, Shannon Welch, Parnell and Joe Headley voted in favor of the motion with Greg Moore, Heedy Hayes and Bobby Agee opposed.

The motion carried with a vote of 4-3.

In November 2013, commissioners accepted current county EMA Director Bill Collum’s intent to retire.

Although commissioners did not take a formal vote during the November meeting, Caton said the commission needed to consider advertising the position for Collum’s replacement.

Collum told commissioners in November he would be willing to work alongside the new person hired in helping to get them properly trained.

Over the span of several months, commissioners have interviewed more than 10 candidates who applied for the position.

On Tuesday, Collum said he was pleased with the commission’s decision to hire Wright who will start his job at the end of April.

“Derrick is a really good kid,” Collum said. “It was a close vote with the commissioners, and I think the reason it was so close was because the two candidates that made it to the final decision were really good guys and either one of them would have been great for this position. I think it came down to personal preference.”

Collum said he would start training Wright, 24, when he returns from his current job in Afghanistan.

“Right now, he does contract work as a paramedic and a fireman by doing emergency work in Afghanistan,” Collum said. “He will come back to Chilton County, and I will start working with him and getting him trained. He is a fine guy, and I am really pleased with the vote.”