Hays County Emergency Services Office hires new director
The Hays County Commissioners Court recently approved one new hire and one promotion in the Office of Emergency Services; another promotion in the department is also being announced.
Mike Jones accepted an offer on July 21 to be the Emergency Services Director. Jones served as the interim director from May 16 to July 15. Prior to that he was the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and has been with Hays County for seven years.
Jones’s new position entails developing and implementing the policies for the Office of Emergency Services, which includes Hays County Emergency Management, Fire Marshal and Homeland Security operations. Jones will also conduct risk analysis of hazard situations, develop and maintain the county’s Emergency Operation and Mitigation Action Plans, and conduct training on Emergency Management programs, among other tasks. The county says he continues to be a vital member of the County’s COVID-19 response team.
Other key members of the COVID-19 response, Chief of Staff Alex Villalobos remains the Emergency Management Coordinator for the County and Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra remains the Emergency Management Director.
“Together this team will continue to collaborate on all things emergency,” Becerra said.
The commissioners court also approved the hiring of Nathan Mendenhall as the new Fire Marshal effective Aug. 10.
Mendenhall is currently a Deputy Fire Marshal of Guadalupe County (a part-time position) and also works part-time as a Fire Protection Code Analyst for Protection Development, Inc. He previously served as a Division Chief for the Bexar County Fire Marshal's office.
In this new position, he will conduct public education, review site and construction plans, issue permits, conduct fire safety inspections, and enforce adopted codes and state laws. His office will also investigate the cause of fires and explosive incidents in the unincorporated areas of Hays County.
“I’m grateful that we have been able to prioritize these important appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Becerra said. “With Mike and Nathan in these positions, we are now better staffed and equipped to handle our current crisis.”
The other announcement from the Office of Emergency Services is that Laurie Taylor was recently promoted to Emergency Services Planner. Taylor, a Hays County employee for five years, started her county career as an Admin I and was quickly promoted to Admin III/Office Manager.
As the new Planner, she collaborates with the Emergency Management Commission on unmet needs for municipalities, carries out tasks related to disaster recovery, attends meetings, and assists in coordination of the Local Emergency Planning Committee and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) management. Taylor develops, writes, submits and reports on the Emergency Management Preparedness Grant for Hays County. She also coordinates the County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).