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Howell to head public safety
Friday, September 28, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Henry County Fire Marshal Rodney Howell has been named the county’s new director of public safety, effective Monday.
He was promoted to the post that formerly was held by Dale Wagoner, who now is deputy county administrator.
“I look forward to continuing to serve the community,” said Howell, 62, who also is the current deputy director of public safety, a post he has held since 2007.
Howell was selected from among five applicants, all of whom are county employees, Wagoner said.
“We used an interview committee that included representatives from the volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, myself and the HR (Human Resources) Department” to make the final decision, Wagoner said.
While there are “multiple people in the county that are capable” of handling the post, Wagoner said Howell’s experience as deputy director of the Public Safety Department was among the factors that pushed him over the top.
“Also, his experience in the field and his experience in fire and emergency management, but probably the one thing that put him ahead is his ability to work with volunteers and businesses in the community and surrounding jurisdictions,” Wagoner said.
“Rodney has extensive experience in the fire service and emergency management,” said Wagoner. “Additionally, he has an excellent rapport with the volunteer fire departments and rescue squads that serve our community.”
Howell, who has served as fire marshal since 1996, said his promotion is “a natural step forward. I enjoy working with public safety and the community.”
He also has been a volunteer with the Patrick-Henry Fire Department since 1975. Howell and his wife, Gwen, live in Bassett.
He owned and operated a small business when Howell said he was hired by the county as a part-time public safety employee in 1993. Three years later, he was hired full time. He also has served as deputy fire marshal.
A graduate of Ferrum College, Howell has various fire and emergency management certifications, including certified fire investigator, fire Instructor, hazardous materials technician and incident management instructor, according to a release from the county.
Howell also has successfully completed the U.S. Emergency Management Institute’s Advanced Professional Series in Emergency Management, the release stated.
He will be paid $71,500 annually in his new post.
He said Thursday he anticipates the fire marshal opening will be posted internally “and we probably will promote from within.”