2015 Flood

The Union Board of Aldermen recently reappointed City Administrator Russell Rost to his emergency management director position until Rost retires in October.

“With things continuing with the current situation, I think we probably need to have somebody that’s been here, through October,” Rost told aldermen at their May meeting.

But the city is looking to find someone to take on the emergency management director duties part-time once Rost retires.

Rost plans to work with the incoming city administrator on finding a candidate. He hopes to find someone who is semi-retired or has a job that leaves them time to also work the emergency management position.

“I think you can probably find somebody, for a reasonable rate, to do it on a part-time basis,” Rost said.

Some candidates could have master’s degrees or state or federal certification, Rost said. They would likely need to work only three days a week, unless there is an emergency.

Rost was asked about contracting with Franklin County for an emergency management director. He said he has brought this up with the county before but not received a positive response.

Cities Rost has talked with prefer to have their own director, who reports to the mayor and aldermen, he said.

“If something goes wrong in a flood or COVID-19, the board is ultimately responsible,” Rost said. “That’s the philosophy on why the person should answer directly to the board. It worked OK with me over the years because I had that background to begin with.”

Rost has performed emergency management director duties since taking them on in 2007, after the city considered hiring a director. At the time, Rost suggested the city instead hire a finance director, which would free up time for him to work on emergency duties.

Rost had previous experience in law enforcement and emergency management. He is a former Hermann police chief and served as an officer on the Hermann and Washington police departments. He also served as the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office chief investigator working with the bomb and arson squad. He later was the chief of detectives for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

Appointed for another year by the board of aldermen at the May 11 meeting were Police Chief Andrew Parker, City Attorney Matt Schroeder and City Clerk Jonita Copeland.

Mayor Rod Tappe postponed his board and committee appointments until after the June 2 election. The election was originally scheduled for April 7 but was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.