Rutherford County government continues to make changes to its emergency services operations, an effort that likely will accelerate with the selection of its first-ever public safety director.
Kevin Lauer, a Rutherford County resident, will start in the position June 12, Mayor Bill Ketron said.
Lauer has worked with the County Technical Assistance Service for 16 years, where he has served as a fire and emergency services management consultant. CTAS is a state program that acts as an advisory service to county governments.
“One of the main things is to make sure we work together and develop the model organization to provide preparedness and safety for all the residents of Rutherford County,” Lauer said.
Earlier this year, the Rutherford County Emergency Medical Service began going through a transition in which many of the top leaders and other employees retired, including founding director Bill Nunley. The reason for the departures were never acknowledged beyond saying they were retirements, but the City of Murfreesboro had threatened to launch its own competing ambulance service after voicing complaints about EMS’s willingness to work with them.
Ketron said he recently selected EMS supervisor Carl Hudgens as the new director of the ambulance service, taking the position vacated by Nunley.
Also, the county is placing its EMS dispatchers in the city’s emergency dispatch center. Rutherford County Fire & Rescue is taking over one of the two Fosterville/Midland Fire Department buildings. The volunteer force’s other building will close. Paid county firefighters will operate the department.
And, the long-time director of the Emergency Management Agency retired.
Lauer said that with Rutherford County’s “huge growth” and all the changes, he wants to make sure all the emergency departments are working together to deliver efficient services.
Ketron said that Lauer is well-respected throughout Tennessee. He serves on a national Emergency Management Agency board, and he teaches fire departments, ambulance services and emergency management agencies through his position at CTAS.
“I hired the best person, not a politician as some people try to say,” Ketron said.
Solid waste discussion
In other county business, Ketron said that on May 24 he hosted a meeting with all of the county’s mayors and the city managers to talk about solid waste. The meeting, which was closed to the public, was mostly about gauging the cities’ willingness to create a solid waste authority.
Each jurisdiction would have representation on the authority, which, if formed, would handle city and county solid waste services.
The mayors agreed that compositing and recycling were the best options, Ketron said.