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DCES restructures command staff
Rexroat named Deputy Chief of Administrative Services
4. Emergency servcies pic
Dawson County Emergency Services command staff Deputy Chief of Operations and Prevention Tim Satterfield, from left, Assistant Chief Danny Speaks and newly-promoted Deputy Chief of Administrative Services Ricky Rexroat discuss management procedure at Fire Station No. 1 Tuesday morning. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

It's a New Year, and Dawson County Emergency Services has a new director.

Chief Lanier Swafford was promoted in December when longtime director Billy Thurmond retired.

There was not a whole lot of celebration over the Dawson County native's promotion. That was at his own request.

He wanted all the focus to be on Thurmond's more than 30 year career.

It's now a month later, and Swafford has taken over the director responsibilities, but still won't take very much praise for running the show.

"Chief is still fine with me, because that's what my staff knows me as," he said.

Instead he wants to shine a spotlight on his command staff and the roles they have taken on in recent weeks.

"I'm just trying to get the right pieces in the right place for the puzzle to give the right image and service. That's what we're trying to do," Swafford said.

There have been talks of realigning the department for a while now.

"Even before he retired, Billy, myself and [Deputy Chief] Tim [Satterfield], we sat down and looked at some workload distribution," Swafford said. "We actually looked at job descriptions to make sure we were adequately covering everything that needed to be done, and the consensus was made that when Billy retired, if I was named director of emergency services...that we would basically create a deputy chief of administrative services."

Last week, Swafford made the announcement that longtime Capt. Ricky Rexroat had been promoted into the new position.

The promotion followed Rexroat's completion of a state leadership course designed to better equip fire and EMS personnel with management and supervisory skills.

"The purpose of that position would be to serve as deputy director of EMS and emergency management," Swafford said. "While Chief Satterfield does prevention and operations, equally important is the administrative side that would deal with ambulance billing, rules and regulations concerning licensure, individual certifications, emergency planning and notification and things of that nature.

"Basically, really we didn't change a lot. We just retitled it."

The changes are in line with National Incident Management System practices, according to Swafford.

"We basically tried to align our organizational structure to mimic theirs," he said. "You have a commander, which would be the director of emergency services.

"Tim would serve as operations chief, Ricky would serve as plans and finance and [Assistant Chief] Danny [Speaks] would serve in a safety role, and other positions would be filled in under that."

Swafford said several more promotions are in the works and should be announced in the next few weeks.