Review board likely to assist in search for new chief

WARREN -- A 911 Review Board member and a Trumbull County commissioner agree that the review board should be closely involved in the search for the next 911 Center director.
Fred Hanley, a 41/2-year member of the review board and longtime advocate of 911, said he will probably make a motion at today's review board meeting asking that a "headhunter" be hired to conduct a nationwide search to replace Timothy Gladis.
Commissioner Paul Heltzel said he believes there are "a heck of a lot of people" -- such as the review board's members -- who know a lot more about running 911 than the commissioners.
Hanley, also a Hubbard Township trustee, said this is perhaps a first step toward making the 911 Review Board more involved in running the 11-year-old 911 system. Commissioners will make the final decision on how to do the search, he noted.
Hanley said he believes local people should be considered for the director's job, but "by going with a broad spectrum, I believe it demonstrates we are serious about finding the right person" and that politics won't enter into the hiring.
Gladis was fired by commissioners in July, after RCC Consultants Inc. made some recommendations to county officials on the 911 operation. Heltzel had clashed with Gladis over 911 department procedures right after the RCC report was released.
Review board's role
Hanley and Heltzel said they agree with the consultant's recommendation that the review board should have more "teeth" in running the operation.
This review board consists of two township trustees, two mayors, two fire chiefs, two police chiefs, a county commissioner, a representative from the state highway patrol and a county representative for Homeland Security. The committee's chairman is Commissioner Daniel Polivka.
The most important thing for the review board right now is to get a good leader for 911, Hanley said.
Second in importance, he added, is restructuring the review board and a technical committee to better run 911.
Heltzel said he believes that if the 911 Review Board would take a more active role, the next director could be in more of an advisory position. But because there was a "vacuum" in that area, Gladis had conducted the review board meetings.
It's time for the review board "to exercise more muscle," Heltzel said.
Hanley also said he believes the board should have input on financial matters. For that to happen, however, the board's bylaws would need to be changed by a 911 Technical Committee.
The RCC Consultants report says the 911 Review Board should have more input on decisions such as budget and performance review. Right now commissioners set the department's budget.
Commissioners' involvement
Heltzel said commissioners must still have oversight of the 911 money.
"I see [commissioners] as an overseer and also to protect the money, not to run [911] on an everyday basis," he said.
Commissioners did not specifically say why Gladis was fired. He was the only director the 911 system has had.
Hanley maintains an appreciation for the job 911 does in the county, noting that the switch to countywide 911 saved Hubbard Township the equivalent of salaries for 11/2 police officers. He said he wishes other cities and townships would come into the system to make it stronger.
The 911 Center in Howland Township is 80 percent funded by Trumbull County and 20 percent by member communities. Liberty, Girard, Newton Falls, Warren Township, Niles, Hubbard and Lordstown are not members.

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