EMA chief on board
Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2006
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing Editor
Escambia County has hired a new EMA director who will have a little more than a month to prepare for what is predicted to be the worst storm season yet.
David Adams, assistant fire chief for the Century Fire Department, accepted the job offer Tuesday morning.
According to Adams' resume, he has been with the Century Fire Department since 1978. He was fire chief from 1983 to 1986 but resigned due to business commitments.
Adams has been the assistant fire chief since 1986. As assistant fire chief, he and his department are responsible for response in the north end of Escambia County (Fla.) and surrounding areas.
Adams said Tuesday morning he hoped he can fill the shoes of outgoing EMA Director David Jennings, who has been touted by commissioners as being “baptized by fire with Hurricane Ivan.”
Adams will begin working for the county May 25.
During the next 30 days, Adams said he intends to start “putting out some feelers” to the state EMA for their predictions on storms and the level of intensity “so that I can start preparing a plan in my mind.”
He said with the help of Jennings he will start becoming familiar with procedure manuals. Adams said he wants to be prepared to “hit the ground and start running.”
Like Jennings, who left his office for a move to the private sector, which he said will better himself and his family, Adams applied for the EMA director position for the same reasons.
Fourteen applicants vying for Escambia County EMA director were whittled down to seven by state EMA officials, and six of the seven were interviewed last week in Brewton.
The applications were sent to the state EMA office and based on criteria listed in the job application, state officials chose their top seven candidates and handed them back down to the county.
Sanks said one of the applicants picked by the state EMA, Larry Davis, pulled his application after learning the director had to live in the county. Sanks said Davis was not willing to relocate to Escambia County.
Sanks said as of Monday, Charles R. Murph Jr. and James A. Hinton, Jr. were offered the position, but he said both candidates rejected the offer because the salary was not high enough.
The starting salary for each candidate was $42,000. Murph is presently Monroe County's EMA director. Hinton is the fire chief in Foley, where he developed the city of Foley's emergency operations plan and the policy, procedure and guideline manual for the fire department.
Sanks and David Coggins, regional coordinator for the state EMA, conducted the interviews last week. Both men were looking for certain qualities in all of the candidates. Among several listed job requirements posted through the state EMA office, candidates were required to relocate to Escambia County within six months of employment, meet minimum standards for emergency management directors as established by the AEMA within two years of employment, and have the ability to work closely with representatives from local, state, federal and private organizations often during stressful situations for extended periods of time.
Sanks said commissioners were excluded from the interview process to “keep the hiring process from being political.”
The remaining applicants interviewed were Charles H. Jackson from Brewton, Dan A. Currie, Jr. from Atmore and Tronie L. Richardson from Atmore.
Adams has been married to his wife, Barbara, for 25 years.
They have a daughter, Stephanie, who is currently a senior at Troy University.