There’s a new deputy in town

Fergus County hires assistant for DES Coordinator
By: 
MIRIAM CAMPAN
Reporter
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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As the newly appointed Deputy DES Coordinator Sarah Hodge brings experience and a helping hand to the Fergus County DES Coordinator.

Photo by Miriam Campan

Deputy DES Coordinator Sarah Hodge relocated to Lewistown the first week in August. She began her half-time position assisting DES Coordinator and Fire Warden Ben Phillips on her second week in Central Montana. 

Hodge, the former DES coordinator for McCone County, was eager to move to Lewistown with her husband Kevin and their two small boys, 2-year-old Hayden and 4-year-old Layton.

“We have been wanting to move to Lewistown and never thought it would be this soon. This position was open and it was very exciting to continue with DES,” said Hodge. 

She added, “Working part-time is perfect for my situation.”

Phillips was very excited about hiring Hodge to help with the many responsibilities of the DES office. The DES office works with ambulance crews, pipelines, fire, law enforcement, state and federal partners, public health and the hospital, which means many meetings and lots of paperwork. 

“A deputy was needed because of how integral this job is. There is so much to do, and its more than one person can handle,” said Phillips.

Hodge said, “In the deputy position I will be assisting Ben. The responsibilities change on a daily basis.”

 “One of the main reasons we have a deputy is so that I can get out to the community and not be sitting here at my desk doing paperwork constantly,” said Phillips. 

“Right now our big project is the pre-disaster mitigation for the county. We will be starting with our first public meeting in two weeks. Next month it is planning to try to lessen the negative effective caused by either natural or human-caused effects that could happen or are likely to happen in this county,” said Hodge.

Phillips added, “The plan is updated every five years. This is a community plan, each of the incorporated towns in Fergus County get their input before the plan is submitted to FEMA, which wants to know the actual mitigation strategy and what can be done to reduce the effects of the hazard.”

The hiring of a deputy will actually save taxpayers thousands of dollars, Phillips said.

“Most counties hire a contractor to do pre-disaster mitigation, saving our county tens of thousands of dollars,” she said. “Most plans cost between $27,000 to $90,000. We [Hodge and Phillips] know the area, we live here and we work for the taxpayer.”

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