Halleck: EMA runs smoothly

LISBON -Columbiana County Commissioner Chairman Mike Halleck said everything is operating smoothly at the county Emergency Management Agency, despite what a Glenmoor firefighter might think.

Speaking at Wednesday’s commissioners meeting, Halleck responded to a story that appeared in local newspapers the same day about Glenmoor Fire Captain Mark Stovall resigning as the EMA’s certification monitor for St. Clair Township because of “instability” within the agency and the qualifications of the new director, Luke Newbold.

Halleck said commissioners are pleased with the efforts of Newbold, who was hired in January, and Deputy EMA Director Edie Dillard, adding he felt compelled to address any concerns Stovall’s letter may have raised about “drama surrounding the EMA.”

“All is well at the EMA,” he said.

After reading the story, Halleck checked and learned that Stovall was among the original group of applicants for the vacant EMA position, all of whom were rejected by commissioners, who later approached Newbold about taking the job.

“It’s unfortunate that a disgruntled applicant for that job would be so disparaging of Mr. Newbold” and the EMA, he said.

After the meeting, Halleck was asked about Stovall’s suggestion that politics had something to do with Newbold’s hiring.

“That’s just ridiculous,” said Halleck, who acknowledged that Newbold is a distant cousin of former state Rep. Craig Newbold, which he said had nothing to do with their decision.

Halleck said he first met Newbold when he was home from the Navy and attending the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Lisbon. After learning that Newbold was a Navy SEAL, Halleck said, “I told him if he ever had a desire to come home we can always use good people.”

Stovall also questioned Newbold’s lack of EMA-related certifications, although he is quickly acquiring various certifications. Halleck said commissioners believe an experienced SEAL such is Newbold has the qualifications to run an agency that is charged with developing, implementing and updating emergency response plans for the county.

Halleck said if anyone has a problem with EMA operations or any county agency under their authority they are free to attend their weekly meetings, which are held at 9 a.m. every Wednesday, and discuss those concerns with them.

Stovall could not be reached for comment.