County looking for civil defense director

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, December 22, 2007

NATCHEZ — When Director of Civil Defense George Souderes retires in the spring of 2008, he will be taking 30 years of experience with him.

Souderes has been charged with the safety of the county since 1978.

“It’s a tremendous responsibility,” he said. “The next person to fill this position will need to be highly qualified.”

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And right now, the search is on for the most qualified person for the job.

The deadline to apply for the position, Dec. 28, is quickly approaching.

President of the Adams County Board of Supervisors Darryl Grennell is still accepting applications and résumés for the position.

Grennell said he will be compiling information on all candidates in order to make a presentation to the board of supervisors.

On Friday, Grennell said he had received less than a dozen applications.

“It’s not an easy job,” he said.

Grennell said once the board has had an opportunity to review the applications, an interview process will begin.

“I’d like to use a panel to interview possible candidates,” Grennell said.

Grennell said he will attempt to assemble a panel of local first responders, board members and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials to interview candidates.

“We really want to hire the best possible person for the job,” he said. “We will also be asking MEMA to send a list of qualifications we should be looking for.”

While Grennell did not list specific qualifications that will factor into the hiring process he did say relevant work experience and education will play a role in hiring.

However, given the scope of Souderes’ responsibilities, it may be difficult to pinpoint what past work experiences make a candidate most qualified.

Souderes serves as civil defense director, chief of the volunteer fire department, director of E-911 and regularly maintains all of the county’s rescue equipment.

Souderes said he has the benefit of adjusting to these roles over the last 30 years.

“Whoever comes in here is going to have a lot to learn,” he said.

That’s why when the county appoints a new director in January, Souderes will stay on for approximately three months to train the new director.

“They (new director) will need to be a good manager,” he said. “They will need to be able to make transitions from one job to the next as needed.”