Butler County EMA director resigns - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Butler County EMA director resigns

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The Butler County sheriff goes up against Emergency Management Director Rick Sliger. The Butler County sheriff goes up against Emergency Management Director Rick Sliger.
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POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

The emergency management director in Butler County turned in a letter of resignation after the sheriff suggested he resign at a county commission meeting.

Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs says Rick Sliger turned in a letter of resignation Friday, September 21.

Ed Strenfel with the Butler County Commission says Rob Meyer is acting as an interim director. The commission is accepting applications and plan to hire a new EMA director by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, September 19, Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs asked the Butler County commission to make changes. He suggested to Sliger that he resign. He called Sliger a "one man show."

"We want to see change," said Dobbs. "Its one of those things were there's been a broken trust and problems that can't be fixed and we can't go back on what's happened."

"It is a one man show not what emergency services should be," said Sheriff Dobbs. 

According To Sheriff Mark Dobbs, Emergency Management in Butler County consists of a one man operation with no disaster plan, and rarely a proactive response. 

"There's never been one conversation about ice storms about floods or anything," said Dobbs. 

Sliger says this is more about politics than how he runs his office.

"I'm not welcome in your office," said Sliger.

"We want to see change its one of those things where there's been a broken trust and problems that can't be fixed," said Dobbs. 

Private citizens also voiced concerns. Differences stem from concerns about faulty storm sirens and storm spotters and search crews who say Sliger once let them go. 

"If you're going to have volunteers they have to be led and willing to follow," said Sliger. 

They now refuse to work under Sliger.

"I can understand why you don't want to be under my umbrella.  You don't trust me, and to be honest I don't trust you either," said Sliger. 

Sliger defended his position, saying he has the liability of the people to protect.  He says he's never had a complaint.

This stems from ongoing issues involving questions about faulty storm sirens, disgruntled volunteers and concerned voiced by other county offices.

"My major concern is the safety and welfare of 42,000 in Butler County," said Dobbs. "There's a lot of things that need to be considered that haven't been. If we had a serious catastrophic incident none of the steps have been taken."

"In this situation I've met with many colleagues and we all feel this is irreparable and we all feel the only thing to come is a change of EMA director," Dobbs said.

Sliger said he thought volunteers were well-intentioned, but reckless and undisciplined.

On Wednesday, Sliger said he would not resign and any changes will be up to commissioners.

Dobbs says storm spotters are qualified as well as search and rescue crews.  His department uses them regularly and says they are a huge benefit.  

Rick Sliger released this statement on Wednesday, September 19 before he resigned:

"What we see here is a classic example of small town politics at its worst. In a small community where the singular local newspaper controls the political landscape it makes it impossible for good people to make positive changes, especially if those changes are in conflict with the newspaper's perverted agenda. In my tenure as the Emergency Management Director I have always strived to work in conjunction with other emergency services and there have never been any formal complaints by those agencies. The series of articles attacking me on the front page of the newspaper is nothing more than retaliation against me for supporting Ed Strenfel as Sheriff of Butler County against the incumbent who has actively been supported by the newspaper. In the wake of this, the community has unnecessarily been led to believe that their safety is at risk. I think it's despicable that the newspaper would use scare tactics to further their political agenda."

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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