County out of compliance with 911 board state statute

First of all, let me say, I hold no malice toward any of the three newly appointed 911 board members. I do hold great esteem, however, for the three 911 board members that were replaced. All three of them wanted to continue their service to Ray County and their local communities of Lawson, Hardin and Orrick. These gentlemen, as Mr. Perry Vandiver tried to explain to the commissioners, were the contact person of their local communities. Questions and concerns relating to public safety and emergency situations were handled by these three.

I find it offensive and wrong when Mr. Jerry Bishop, the county’s western commissioner, stated last week that Mr. Mike Arnold, Mr. Malcolm Cunningham and Mr. Gene Nolker didn’t represent us (Ray County) to start with. I would like to say that these men have given great service to the people of Ray County! How would Mr. Bishop know if he has never attended a 911 board meeting and has never made contact with these men? And Mr. Gary Wilhite, being the presiding commissioner, didn’t know that Paul Harris was the appointed person representing his chair?

Before the decision was made to replace with new members, there was no contact with the 911 board or any concerning agency, to my knowledge. There was no thought of the outlying communities of Hardin, Orrick and Lawson. In making this hasty decision without in-depth research, they have taken Ray County out of state compliance. In not renewing the seats held by Mr. Arnold, Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Nolker, we (Ray County) were no longer grandfathered to the 1997 State Statute 190.309.1 and now fall under the Revised State Statute 190.309.1 adopted Aug. 28, 2016. That revision clearly states the entities that should have a seat on the 911 board. Ray County is considered a county of the third classification and should have at least six of the following members on the board.

• County Sheriff, Done – Brian Bush

• County Presiding Commissioner, Done – Paul Harris

• Chief of police of the county seat, Done – Chief Chad Burnine

• Mayor of the city of the county seat, Not Done – No Representation

• President of the fire association of the county, Not Done – There is no longer a county fire association. (Mr. Arnold, Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Nolker, along with Mr. Gary Hall from Stet, in my opinion, filled this role because they represent their cities’ fire districts.)

• Chief executive officer of the hospital located in city of county seat, Done – Susan McCorkendale

• Director of emergency services of hospital located in city of county seat, Done – Susan McCorkendale.

It is noted that Susan is filling a dual role on this board and the board should probably have legal counsel to see if this needs to be separated.

This leaves Ray County out of compliance. In the commissioners’ meetings that I have attended Feb. 23 and March 2, there were many concerned citizens who expressed their desire to have this issue revisited. Eastern Commissioner Allen Dale tried unsuccessfully to have it reopened several times. At the March 2 meeting, Mr. Dale made a motion to reopen (it died for lack of a second). Mr. Wilhite and Mr. Bishop did not research this issue. (In-depth research should have been done before appointments were ever made, in my opinion). After witnessing these two meetings, it has left me wondering how many more decisions are made without in-depth research?

Chris Minnick


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