Lackawanna County EMA Director resigns

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JESSUP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Lackawanna County Emergency Services is under new leadership after the former director resigned.

David Hahn left the county position abruptly on Monday. It’s still unclear why Hahn left without notice. It’s now raising questions. Is the center operating as it should?

In the past few months, three people have left Lackawanna County’s Public Safety Center. Two of them retired. On Monday, Director of Emergency Services and Deputy Director of Emergency Operations, David Hahn resigned with no notice.

“The article came out in the paper that, you know, the commissioners all knew this was going to happen. Well, this commissioner did not know,” County Commissioner Chris Chermak said.

Chermak says he was left out of a “behind closed doors” decision to let Hahn go from his position with the county.

“If there is something going on, I need to know. But as far as I know, everything is fine. He does a great job for the county, he guided us through the pandemic. To me it’s more of a political thing. Somebody wanted him out,” Chermak said.

“With all due respect I respectfully decline to comment on personnel matters,” County Commissioner Debi Domenick said.

Eyewitness News has learned two senior employees will take over the roles of deputy director for 911 and training, plus emergency management. Domenick assures the public there will be no interruption of service.

“We would not have made the change if we thought it was going to be in any way in a least bit detrimental to our residents,” Domenick said.

PEMA tells Eyewitness News Lackawanna County is compliant with changes made:

“PEMA was notified by the Lackawanna County Commissioners in May 2021 that Mr. Thomas Taylor was appointed acting Emergency Management Agency Coordinator for the county. This is a completely separate position than the one held by Mr. Hahn; I would advise you to contact the county if you need more details regarding roles, responsibilities, chain of command, etc. As Mr. Taylor is the county EMA coordinator, the county is compliant. PEMA provides funding for 50% of Mr. Taylor’s salary as the EMA coordinator. PEMA did not provide any funding to support Mr. Hahn’s position,”

PEMA Director of Communications Ruth Miller said in an email

“It’s one of many efforts that we’re making to try and make the county run more efficiently. Both financially and otherwise,” Domenick said.

The county’s CFO and solicitor tells Eyewitness News the county pays out anywhere from a quarter to half a million dollars a year to help run the public safety center.

“We spend more than we get in subsidized funding. Pema gives the county money, for approved expenditures but not enough money to fully fund 911,” solicitor Frank Ruggiero said.

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