Erath County commissioners hired Susan Driskill Wednesday to become the next emergency management coordinator, replacing Steve Cole, who is retiring at the end of the year.

The vote was 3-0, with commissioners Herbert Brown, Joe Brown and Scot Jackson casting votes. Commissioner Dee Stephens was not in attendance.

County Judge Tab Thompson told commissioners that he believes Driskill is “imminently qualified,” and “will bring expertise not only in emergency management but also in communications.”

Driskill, the lone finalist for the post among five applicants, is currently the office manager at the Erath County Extension Office. She previously had 26 years of experience working for the Department of Public Safety in communications, and was an area manager for the agency’s statewide emergency response team.

“We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to bring her on in this position for the county,” Thompson told the E-T after the vote. “She is extremely qualified. She has all sorts of experience in that field for the state and county.”

Cole said he told commissioners that he believes Driskill would be an excellent fit for the job.

“She has an excellent background for the job, and I’m looking forward to working with her for a smooth transition,” Cole told the E-T.

Driskill said she is looking forward to filling the role, and has already started the learning process with Cole to make sure there is a smooth transition when she officially takes on the title on Jan. 1.

“We had a table-top exercise yesterday (Wednesday) at Tarleton, and he showed me some of the things I will be taking over,” Driskill said. “I’m very excited to take over as emergency management coordinator. Steve Cole has done an excellent job as EMC. I appreciate (the) confidence that the county judge and commissioners have in me and I will do my very best not to let them down.”

Driskill said her last day on the job at the extension office will be Dec. 21. She will be in the office with Cole starting Dec. 24 to continue to get familiar with her new responsibilities.

Driskill and her husband Russell have three grown children and three grandchildren. Russell Driskill, a service advisor at Bruner Chevrolet, is a native of Erath County.

DOG FOUND?

Sheriff Matt Coates spoke to commissioners about an opportunity to obtain a second drug-sniffing dog for the county, at no charge.

Coates told them that contact was made with a police officer in Poteet who was severely injured in a vehicle accident. The officer is not able to use his police dog, which he had trained with, and offered to let the dog be used by the Erath County Sheriff’s Office at least on an interim basis. The dog has been in service in Poteet for about five years, and likely has about five more years of service time ahead.

The commissioners gave the approval for Coates to look further into the possibility, and he will report back to the court later if it appears a vote of approval is warranted.

Coates told commissioners that the cost of buying a trained drug-sniffing dog is about $10,000, and training can cost about $3,500.

“The dog has already been worked, and proven himself,” Coates noted.

The county has one dog already in service, and the Stephenville Police Department also has its own dog, Coates said.

“Right now we’re running quite a few calls, both city and county, with our K-9,” Coates stated.