CARTHAGE, Mo. —
The Jasper County Emergency Services Board on Tuesday voted to offer the job of executive director to April Tarrant, according to Kelly Stephens, board chairman.
He said the action came after the board met in special session to review the results of background and reference checks on the candidate.
“I’ve called her, and I hope to meet with her Wednesday to make the job offer in person,” Stephens said.
Tarrant currently is executive director of the Western Missouri 911 Dispatch Board in Nevada. The Jasper County vacancy attracted 41 applicants, but Tarrant was the only finalist interviewed for the post.
“We’re very hopeful she’ll take the job,” Stephens said. “She’s run several 911 centers, and everyone we’ve talked with said she was very professional and they were very pleased with her.”
He said the vote to offer the job to Tarrant was unanimous, with votes from him, Carl Francis, Jeff Merriman and Larry Newman. Three other directors, Bill Lyscio, Dan Stanley and Bill Rowland, did not attend the special meeting.
Stephens said that if Tarrant accepts the position, he is not certain when she can start the new job. “I’m hoping it can be in about two weeks,” he said.
The new director will replace Rich Nordell, who was fired in February after three years in the position. In the interim, two workers have been sharing administrative duties.
Nordell’s dismissal was approved on a 4-1 vote. Lyscio dissented; Rowland and Stanley were absent.
Rowland later criticized the decision, and representatives of a number of operations served by the center, primarily fire departments, protested the decision and called for Nordell to be reinstated.
In addition to working with the board on administrative issues, the new director will oversee a county center that provides dispatching services for all the fire departments in the county except Joplin’s, and for law enforcement agencies except those in Joplin, Carthage, Webb City and Carl Junction. The board also dispatches for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department under contract, but the department is planning to resume its own dispatching program.
Rich Nordell is contesting his dismissal in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. Nordell’s lawsuit was filed April 1; a response by Norman Rouse, board attorney, was filed April 23.