APPLETON – A day after Outagamie County’s emergency management director was fired, attention turns to what is next. But some county board members say before the next director is hired the office needs to undergo some changes.
Some board members say the role of the emergency management director is undervalued by the county. And they say they plan to introduce some changes they hope will take effect before the next director is hired.
County board supervisor Jim Duncan says the $54,000 yearly salary for the emergency management director isn’t what it should be.
“We need to attract quality candidates for the position and I think if the pay is an issue then we have to act on that,” said Duncan.
County board supervisor Tanya Rabec agrees.
“I think the reason is that we do not pay very well, not for that position,” said Rabec.
Former Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz was let go by County Executive Tom Nelson Monday, although Nelson would not provide details as to why.
Rabec says a change in leadership in the Emergency Management Department is good for the county.
“I personally think she was in over her head,” said Rabec.
We reached out to Loeffelholz for comment Monday and Tuesday, but she did not return our calls.
Rabec says she thinks Loeffelholz was the only choice in a small pool of candidates.
“There were only two applicants, it’s very hard to find the best qualified person when there is only two applicants,” Rabec said.
However, Nelson disagrees. He says when Loeffelholz was hired, there were at least four candidates for the position and he says the pay is more than adequate.
“I think the county has done well overall. In fact compared to other municipalities I think we have done quite well,” said Nelson.
But pay isn’t the only concern Duncan, Rabec and other supervisors have. They also want to see the Emergency Management Department report to the sheriff’s office.
“I think the department belongs underneath the sheriff’s department just in case we run into those situations where we need more help,” said Duncan.
Oversight of emergency management was taken away from the sheriff’s department several years ago, but Nelson says he’s open to switching it back.
“The sheriff and I have been talking about that and it is certainly something that we have been entertaining,” said Nelson.
Nelson also told FOX 11 he has already had discussions with an interim director to step in. He says he hopes to have that role filled in the next few days.