By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Pulaski County is among a dozen Virginia counties selected to receive 2014 Achievement Awards from Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) in recognition of model government programs.
A total of 18 programs were selected for awards from 61 entries submitted by counties across the Commonwealth, according to VACo.
Pulaski County’s winning program, entitled “Emergency Management Deputy Coordinators,” won in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety category. It involved the county’s hiring of three part-time deputy emergency management coordinators to address issues of burnout and vacancies in the full-time position.
According to the program description, the county’s full-time emergency management coordinators were getting “burned out” because they “felt responsible for responding to emergency situations on a 24/7 basis.” As a result, the county had “back-to-back” losses of coordinators, leaving the county without anyone who was ready to take over the position.
Hiring three part-time coordinators to assist the one full-time coordinator allowed each to be on call only one weekend per month and the county’s only cost was in the payment of stipends to the deputy coordinators for being on call and paying the deputy coordinators whenever they were actually called out to an emergency.
Other program benefits included having back up when the full-time coordinator is in training, the ability to rotate coordinators during lengthy emergency situations and the opportunity to select from the part-time coordinators if the full-time position becomes vacant.
VACo’s Achievement Awards competition is open to local governments that are members of VACo. Award certificates will be presented to winning counties during the Association’s annual conference to be held in November. Awards also will be presented at board of supervisors meetings.