Westmoreland County fills public safety director post
It took just 24 hours for Westmoreland County Commissioners to hire a public safety director.
Commissioners on Friday hired Roland “Bud” Mertz to head the $51 million department that oversees emergency management and response, as well as 911 dispatching services.
Mertz, a former Greensburg firefighter, worked 25 years as a communications officer for the state police. After a five-year stint with the state's Department of Homeland Security, Mertz, 55, served in several high-level administrative roles with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency before retiring last month.
“We were not going to let this languish,” said Commissioner Charles Anderson. “It's just a great choice. We're fortunate we got him.”
Mertz was a candidate for the public safety job in early 2012, when commissioners hired retired military officer Michael Brooker for the position.
Brooker resigned in November, having served less than two years on the job.
His replacement, Brian Jones, who was a deputy under Brooker, was hired in April after a brief national search.
Jones resigned on Thursday after just two months for what he called “personal reasons.”
Jones will remain on the job until the end of next week, and Mertz will officially begin his tenure on Monday.
Commissioners said Mertz will earn an annual salary of about $75,000. Jones was paid $76,000 a year.
“His credentials are impeccable. He's local. He's availabl, and he's eminently qualified,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas. “He certainly deserved every consideration two years ago.”
Commissioners met with Mertz early Friday and immediately offered him the job. No other candidates were interviewed.
“It was a pretty easy decision. That was the person we thought should be there based on his background,” said Commissioner Tyler Courtney.
Mertz, who lived in Harrisburg for the past 11 years, retired last month to return home to Greensburg.
He said he will bring his experience in working for the state's emergency management agency during recent weather-related crises to his job in Westmoreland County.
“We want to make sure we are mission capable. I will jump right in and identify who our customers are. Public safety is all about the community,” Mertz said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Pleasant approves PennDOT pact
- New Kensington man on trial on charges of molesting girl during 7-year period
- Westmoreland County Land Bank targets first Latrobe building for demolition
- Proposed trucking repair facility at air park gets Unity planners’ OK
- Jeannette District Memorial Hospital demolition work complete
- Proposal could clear way for finalizing sale of West Newton’s Plumer House
- Police: Carnival worker arrested for hitting, dragging Dunbar Township man with truck
- Westmoreland Co. businessman going to prison
- Hempfield Area considers renovations at high school
- Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
- Heroin, marijuana found in car in Greensburg, driver arrested