New 911 Board does little in first meeting

     The first meeting of the governor’s newly appointed Kentucky 911 Services Board only lasted 16 minutes Thursday afternoon. Governor Bevin issued an executive order Wednesday, removing the local officials serving on the board and replacing them with five governor appointees. Those five held a special meeting at the Transportation Cabinet. Much of the short meeting focused on introducing the new members and explaining who will make up the new 911 Services Advisory Council, still to be appointed by the governor.

     Governor Bevin’s executive order transferred management and oversight of the board to the Office of Homeland Security. The Executive Director of that office, John Holiday, is the board chairman. The governor also appointed David Dickerson, Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet; Michael Dossett, director of the Division of Emergency Management; Sandra Dunahoo, commissioner of the Department of Local Government; and William McElheney, an accountant from Florence who is serving as a citizen representative. McElheney is the vice chairperson. No local officials are on the new board.

     Wednesday’s executive order claims the change in board leadership is necessary to ensure regulations are administered “in a consistent, ethical and organized manner.” The Board oversees 911 surcharge fees on mobile phones and authorizes grants for local emergency call centers. The new board will be advised by the 13-member Council, all of whom the order says will “serve at the pleasure of the governor.” It will consist of members of the police, fire, emergency services, a representative from the Kentucky League of Cities, a representative from the Kentucky Association of Counties, as well as at-large representatives. The governor's order is clear, however, that none of those appointees will serve any role other than advising the board.

     There were more emergency services workers in the audience at Thursday’s meeting than board members. Many seemed surprised at the short meeting agenda, which only had five items: (1) call to order, (2) establish quorum, (3) introduction of new members, (4) executive session for personnel matters, and (5) adjourn. The board went into the executive session after introductions were made and then quickly adjourned. Chairman Holiday says the board will meet again June 22, 2017.

Read Governor Bevin's order here.