Deciding the Fate of Director of Homeland Security

By Max Resnik

March 20, 2012 Updated Mar 20, 2012 at 5:20 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The Allen County Personnel Committee met to compare the Allen County Director of Homeland Security responsibilities and salary versus those of surrounding counties and others throughout the nation.

With Homeland Security Director Bernie Beier in attendance, the committee worked to determine if the position is needed at all in the county, what the responsibilities of that position should be and if the current $89,000 salary fits those responsibilities.

The discussion comes in the wake of major changes for the Department of Homeland Security. In early February, the City of Fort Wayne announced that it would be ending its joint agreement with Allen County to cover the costs associated with the position. That includes things like salary and benefits as well as a vehicle.

The City of Fort Wayne said they were ending their agreement because they felt the department duplicated services in the city that other law enforcement and emergency management personnel could cover.

That agreement expires at the end of March with the position becoming a county one. Now, with the position under the jurisdiction of Allen County, it is up to the Allen County Commissioners to determine if they want to keep the position and what the salary and benefit package would be for keeping that position.

Last week, the County announced that they would extend the position’s salary until May 1. Today, Allen County Council President Darren Vogt (R) said he respects the position of Director of Homeland Security and believes Beier has done a sound job. However, he too belives that some of the responsibilities might be getting duplicated and wants to examine the position.

"Environmental safety and environmental is the biggest one I see and we currently have that department that does do some of the exact same things, through the job descriptions that I see, that the Homeland Security director does."

Vogt says the problems could be more systematic than anything else.

“Nobody's ever said that our current director is doing a poor job or anything like that and that we need one. It's just time to evaluate the overall process and see if we have other people who have been doing the job and maybe can fold some of those duties into one department and have it streamlined.”

The Allen County Commissioners plan to have a decision prior to May 1.

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