Deputy director opts to leave county EMA

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners will be looking for a new deputy emergency management director following the resignation of Edie Dillard.

Dillard, who has worked at the EMA since March 2006 and served the past 25 months as deputy director, announced her resignation in an email sent on Thursday to contacts on her email list, including the Morning Journal.

Commissioners said they received hand-delivered letters from Dillard Thursday morning and were caught somewhat by surprise.

“I had heard she wants to be an accountant … and she wants to go in a different direction with her life, and we wish her well,” said Commissioner Mike Halleck.

Dillard, who lives in Youngstown, alluded to that in her resignation letter, saying her “pursuit of my master’s degree in accounting is leading me to relocate and start my life anew.”

“The decision to leave the EMA after (nearly) nine years of service has not come easy. It is with a heavy heart that I do this; my love of the job, the people in the community, co-workers, volunteers and first responders; has been an enjoyable learning experience over the years and makes it hard to leave,” she wrote.

Dillard was hired as EMA administrative assistant after having held several jobs at local banks. She was promoted to deputy director in July 2012 following the resignation of EMA Director Darren Dodson, which occurred three months after former deputy director Tim Long quit to take another job.

Several weeks later Dillard was named interim EMA director while the commissioners began accepting applications for a permanent replacement. While Dillard was considered for the job at one point, commissioners went a different direction and recruited Navy SEAL Luke Newbold to take the position.

“She’s been a valued member of the EMA team for years,” Halleck said.

Dillard’s last day is Aug. 29, and commissioners will now begin the process of finding a replacement. “We really haven’t talked among ourselves yet, and I would imagine we’ll consult on the next step,” said Commissioner Tim Weigle.

Whether that includes taking applications has yet to be decided. The last time, commissioners were disappointed with the list of applicants, which is when they recruited Newbold about taking the job.

Halleck said they will may take applications to see what interest the job draws. “That will likely be our position, but it’s been my opinion sometimes you can find the best person for the job by looking for the best candidate yourself,” he said.