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Emergency services post filled

February 17, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to hire Hagerstown Police Department Capt. Charles R. Summers as deputy director of the county's Division of Fire and Emergency Services.

The position has been vacant since January 2008, when former director John A. Latimer resigned and former deputy director Kevin L. Lewis became the division's interim director. Lewis was formally named to the director position in June.

Summers was one of 30 applicants for the position, Lewis said. A committee interviewed 12 of those applicants, and based on the interviews, Lewis recommended Summers for the position, he said.

Commissioners Kristin B. Aleshire and William J. Wivell voted against hiring Summers.

Aleshire said he wanted to hire someone with more of a background in fire and EMS operations.

"I've worked with Charlie Summers and I have great respect for him, but this is not the individual I envisioned becoming the deputy director for fire and EMS services," Aleshire said.

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Lewis said Summers would bring important management skills to the position and his law enforcement background would help round out the division.

The deputy director must be able to support a management structure to direct resources in a variety of emergency situations, and is also involved in grant processes and projects such as the emergency communications consolidation project, Lewis said.

Summers, a 30-year veteran of the Hagerstown Police Department, has served as the department's operations commander since 2000. He served on the county's Special Response Team for 23 years, including five as commander. He also served as acting chief of the Hagerstown Police Department in 2005.

Summers said his qualifications for the deputy director position include his experience in critical incident management, personnel management and budget management.

"I think it may be the next normal extension of my career," he said

Summers is the law enforcement representative on the state's Emergency Number Systems Board, which provides funding to emergency communications operations.

"Being part of that board for the past seven, eight years has given me pretty good insight into the operation of 911 centers, where the funding comes from, what funding comes from the state," he said.

Summers has coordinated with the county on several projects, including the Hagerstown Police Department's transition to a new radio system, Lewis said.

Summers will make $57,814, plus benefits, Lewis said. That is 7 percent above the minimum salary for the deputy director position, which is grade 16 on the county's pay scale, Lewis said.

Summers will begin his new position March 9, Lewis said.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said the department would replace Summers, but he wasn't sure when the search for a replacement would begin.

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