By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
A fourth resignation has been tendered concerning the Whitley County E911 Board — Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell called it quits Monday.
While the identity of the third Whitley County E911 Board member to resign remains a mystery, the other two members who resigned – Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird and 2nd District Constable Ron “Bubba” Bowling – have completely different reasons for leaving the board.
Bowling explained Friday that he was preparing to run for reelection to his seat in the spring.
“I served on that 911 board — faithfully — for the last two years,” Bowling said. “But I decided to take a break through the holidays so I can spend time with my family before I campaign for reelection in May.”
He said that was the reason for his leaving the board.
“Just like everything else, you’ve got to pick and choose how you spend your minutes in a day,” he said. “I just needed a break from some of these boards I serve on.”
Bird’s reason was much different.
He explained that the E911 Board is a governing body – and that its members include 51 percent law enforcement.
County Projects Director Amber Owens said the members of the board include Board chair Jerry Rains, vice-chair Bowling, Whitley County Chief Deputy Kenny “KY” Fuson, Emergency Management Director Danny Moses, county treasurer Jeffrey Gray, Bill Rose from the Corbin Police Department, Bird, E911 Director Chuck Davis, a representative from the Kentucky State Police, as well as one from KSP’s Post 11 dispatch center.
She also said decisions made by that board dictate the operation of the 911 center. “Any personnel issues, or policy and procedure issues go through the board,” Owens explained. Bird agreed that was the board’s defined purpose.
“All the board members do a great job,” Bird said. “They’ve worked hard (making sure) the dispatch center runs properly.”
He said when he became a member of the board – there were no policies and procedures in place.
“Now we have those policies and procedures,” he said. “We were striving for good things – and things that happen require action from the 911 board.”
And Bird said the board members would indeed vote and take official action during monthly meetings.
“But we’d take an action – and then that action (would) not (be) carried out,” he said.
He explained he’s had his resignation letter “typed up for a month.”
“If I’m going to serve on a board, I want to have a purpose,” Bird said. “I’m not just there because they’re there – again, I want to have a purpose.”
He said if the purpose of the board it to make 911 better, then that’s how the board should operate.
“But when (the board’s) actions never get done, I chose not to be a part of that anymore,” he said.
He added there was not just one action – or lack thereof – that soured his feelings about his board presence. “There’s several reasons where decisions have arisen, and the board voted, and no action – there’s no specific incident.”
Bird said he did not want to leave the board. “I hate it,” he said. “It’s nothing personal – it’s a decision I’ve made in the best interest of the Williamsburg Police Department. It’s my time – and I want it to mean something.”
The chief said the county has a good 911 system. “I’d like it to be the best around – and that’s what I, as a board member – was trying to do.”
Bird felt the county needs 911.
“I think the citizens of the county deserve that,” he said. “It’s their first line of defense – it’s our first line of defense – and I think it’s important.”
Sheriff Harrell echoed Bird’s sentiments concerning his reasons for leaving – and he resigned Monday.
“I talked with the staff and decided this was the best route to take,” Harrell said. “The effectiveness of the board has been breached.”
He further explained his opinion of the board’s “effectiveness.”
“I felt like the effectiveness and efficiency of the 911 Board has been affected by the actions taken,” he said Monday afternoon. “And I don’t feel like the Whitley County Sheriff’s Office ought to be a part of it.”
E911 Director Chuck Davis was contacted Friday concerning the first three resignations. “I have no comment or reaction,” he said.
By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
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