Cortland Lawmakers Appoint New County Emergency Communications Director
Cortland County lawmakers have appointed someone to oversee the County’s new $16 million dollar emergency communications system as well as the County 9-1-1 Center.
In a 15 to 1 vote last night Cortland County Legislators approved Scott Romans of Cortland to serve as the new Director of Emergency Response and Communications. The position was created last month in response to the highly technical radio network that the County is installing. The Cortland County Fire Coordinators position was abolished as part of the change.
Romans who is a lifelong resident of Cortland County is currently employed in the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response and Communications as a computer aided dispatch specialist. Romans has worked there for several years starting out as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Romans is also an active volunteer with the Cortlandville Fire Department.
Romans was one of two people who applied for the position, the other candidate did not meet the job requirements as written.
Republican Legislator Kevin Whitney who has been actively involved in the development of the radio system says he feels Romans is the best person for the job due to his experience in Tompkins County.
In addition to overseeing the final development of the radio system Romans will oversee the emergency dispatch center and be responsible for dealing problems associated with the computer aided dispatch equipment that the County 9-1-1 Operators utilize.
Democratic Minority leader Sandy Price the lone no vote against Romans appointment, Price said her vote was reflective of concerns that were brought to her by members of the local fire service that also serve on the Harford and Virgil Town Boards. Among those concerns is that the job description was tailored for Romans specifically and that the hiring process was essentially rigged. In addition Price expressed concerns that hiring meetings were held in secret and that the hiring process was too quick.
County Administrator Martin Murphy who was on the selection committee disagreed with Price’s assertions, he says the meetings were not secret, the job description was based on similar positions in other counties, and the description was circulated to the full legislature.
Whitney pointed out that Romans has already completed half of the training required by Motorola to run the new radio system.
Romans will start with a salary over $66 thousand dollars a year, with benefits the position may cost taxpayers over $90 thousand dollars a year.
Currently, the Fire Coordinators position pays over $30 thousand dollars a year, Romans is expected to begin March 1st.