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Fire coordinator named to LEMA position in cost-saving move

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Aug. 8, 2001
Lauderdale County supervisors on Tuesday appointed Fire Coordinator Clarence Butler to serve in an additional county role a move that could save taxpayers more than $20,000.
At a regular meeting, supervisors appointed Butler to serve as the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency director, a position that has been open since former director Eddie Ivy resigned in May to pursue a full-time career with Barham Funeral Home.
Ivy's resignation was effective May 15, and Butler had been serving as interim director. Supervisors gave Butler a $10,000 raise to take the extra position.
District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell said he thinks Butler can do the job and save taxpayers about $20,000 in the process, which is "what it's all about."
District 1 Super-visor Hank Florey said he thinks it's a "big plus" to have both the emergency management agency and the volunteer fire departments functioning under one person.
County Administrator Rex Hiatt said combining the positions will save the county a little more than $20,000, including the costs of insurance, vacation and other benefits. He said the extra money will remain in the general budget to help fund operations for the next fiscal year.
Butler began his career as a firefighter with the Meridian Fire Department in 1961. He joined the county's staff as fire coordinator in 1990, and served as interim LEMA director for a year during the early 1990s.
Butler said it's feasible for one person to serve both roles because the county has hired several part-time people to work for LEMA since the time Eddie Ivy began serving as director.
Butler said he doesn't anticipate a lot of changes in procedures or personnel. He said he is excited about his new dual role and looks forward to working with volunteers in both branches.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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