The Madison County board on Wednesday approved a raise for the director of the Emergency Management Agency.
The salary for Todd Fulton, the director of the EMA, was increased to $83,700 from $72,500 after a review of his work and the completion of training courses through the Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA Emergency Management Institute.
The previous EMA director, Larry Ringering, made $67,000 in 2016, according to public records. Ringering was with the agency for 12 years and served as the director for almost a decade, but he was replaced by Fulton earlier this year, according to previous reporting.
Fulton’s raise came after he completed courses on leadership, incident command, problem solving, communication, managing volunteers and emergency management, according to the EMI.
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Despite the training, it wasn’t immediately clear whether Fulton needed it to be the EMA director.
State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said his office wasn’t consulted on the issue, and board chairman Kurt Prenzler said he didn’t know whether there were requirements.
The county board resolution states that Fulton “completed certification” at the EMI, but there are no required qualifications to be the director of an agency, said Patti Thompson, the Public Information Officer with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
September is National Preparedness Month.
The board also cleared the way to install a new director of the Animal Care and Control Department.
The board changed the qualification requirements for the department head. Previously, the director needed to be a veterinarian licensed in the state of Illinois, but the board removed that requirement and gave County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler the power to appoint a new administrator.
The decision to create the new position was in line with a measure passed in April to ensure that Madison County did not euthanize animals that the department acquired, Councilwoman Lisa Ciampoli said.
The county wants to “rebrand and change the atmosphere at our animal control,” she said.
One of the goals of the new position would be to bring grant money for programs to spay and neuter animals and make renovations to the department to make it more “customer friendly,” she said. Another goal is to have the administrator work more with animal rescue groups, including ones outside the county.
Jacob Ryan, who works part-time as the county’s current director, supported the measure.
“I think to fully achieve what Madison County is proposing ... it could definitely be helpful,” Ryan said. “If a full-time administrator is hired and has extensive experience in no-kill shelters, they will likely have more time and ideas for these problems.”
In other business, the county board voted against an $81,000 bid to install tracking devices in the county’s vehicle fleet.
The devices, which record vehicles’ location, mileage and hard stops, would allow the county to track its roughly 130 vehicles better and even find those that aren’t in use, County Administrator Douglas Hulme said.
The devices were “best practice in the private sector,” he said.
Carla Gillespie, of the American Federation for State, County and Municipal Employees, a union, raised the concern that the GPS system impacted union workers and that it fell under their contract as an item to negotiate.
“We have the right to bargain over the impact,” she said.
Councilman Mike Parkinson also opposed the measure.
“Why are we spending money on things that managers can do in the field?” he said.
Mark Gvillo, who said he manages 42 vehicles with the county highway and bridge department, also questioned the spending and said his department wasn’t consulted about the measure and whether it would help.
“I see no credible savings,” he said.