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McKinney tapped to head EMA

Kevin McKinney was chosen Tuesday as the new county Emergency Management Agency Director, effective immediately.

He will replace Sylvan E. Mutschler who resigned recently to take a position at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

A former county commissioner, McKinney currently is employed as the administrator of the Marengo County Jail and also serves as chairman of the county E-911 board. He said Tuesday he would remain in those two positions.

“Kevin has years of experience in the emergency management area as well as a strong background in law enforcement, emergency medical services, public safety, communications, and city and county government,” said commissioner Ken Tucker. He has maintained a good working relationship with the state EMA officials, the commissioner said.

McKinney previously served five years as fire chief in Myrtlewood and three years as president of the county association of volunteer fire departments.

He was very involved when the county commission created its own EMA office. The county had previously been served by the Dallas County EMA, McKinney said.

McKinney has previously applied for the EMA position when Mutschler was chosen. His duties at the county jail will not be in conflict with the EMA position. “I think things are well enough here now that I can be available for that position at times when it is needed,” McKinney said.

He will not be as hands-on as Mutschler was. “I don’t know if that is necessary (40-hour-a-week duties as EMA director)….I will have to do all the necessary work that goes along with it….You can put anything under an umbrella and come up with all kind of duties.”

He looks at the EMA director job as more a facilitator than running the show. He will be able to use the resources in his jail office.

“We’ve got to take a common sense approach, McKinney said. “We don’t need bio-terrorism classes in Marengo County. We need to protect what we’ve got and make sure the responders have the equipment and the training that they need. “We don’t need stuff that Atlanta, Georgia needs. We need to focus on what our exposure is here and focus on the resources.

“I’m not going get out here and tell the Demopolis Police Department or the Fire Department or the South Marengo Rescue Squad how to do their jobs,” McKinney said. “You’ve just got to assist them.”

McKinney, as EMA Director, was also chosen by the commission Tuesday as the county representative for Homeland Security and Flood Plain Management.

“There is an opportunity here…to get significant grant money through Homeland Security,” Tucker said. “The EMA director will be working on other grants as well.”