Payne County District 1 Commissioner Zach Cavett was appointed supervisor over Emergency Management, removing the responsibility from District 2 Commissioner Chris Reding.
The Board of Commissioners made the decision in its May 15 meeting.
Before the 2-1 vote was cast, Reding said he would “stand directly and diametrically opposed” to the motion.
“You (Cavett) don’t know the first thing about Emergency Management,” Reding said. “Your sole purpose for doing that is to fire Troy Choplin. You’ve said that to others, and it’s got back through the grapevine.”
Reding said Choplin, the Deputy Director for Emergency Management, is one of the most vital employees in Payne County.
“He’s recognized in the county, he’s recognized in the state, he’s recognized nationally for the work that he does,” Reding said. “His exercises have been commended and copied across the state. There is no reason at all to move Emergency Management from under District 2.”
But, Cavett denied the rumors of his intention to fire anyone. He said Choplin is one of the most knowledgeable individuals in Emergency Management and would be a good asset for helping the transition.
He said he only wanted to assume control after learning about Reding’s “lack of leadership” in Environmental Enforcement. District 3 Commissioner Rhonda Markum was given control of that agency earlier in the meeting – stripping it from Reding.
“I don’t need any more responsibility than I currently already have. I really don’t care to take (Emergency Management),” Cavett said. “It seems as though (Environmental Enforcement) get to go around doing whatever they want, whenever they want. I can only assume that Emergency Management is being done the same.”
In response, Reding said the move was a bad one for Payne County given Cavett’s “lack of understanding of how Emergency Management actually works.”
“Do I micromanage and direct every activity? No, “Reding said. “I have good people, and I trust them to do what they need to do to get the job done. That’s my management style.”
Markum said she’s concerned because the agency’s employees don’t work in the office.
“I don’t disagree that we have a great Emergency Management department,” Markum said. “It’s some of the day-to-day operations of some things that I think are personal use that needs to be addressed.”
Despite Reding’s objections, the motion passed.
Commissioners met in executive session in a special meeting Wednesday where they discussed the employment of three county environmental enforcement employees. No actions were taken following executive session.
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