With passage of the half-cent sales tax, the Lawrence County Commission has named the initial members of the seven-member Lawrence County 911 board of directors.

Representing the Eastern District are Jim Carson, Rick Witthuhn and Amy Buffalow. Representing the Western District are Brad DeLay, David Hubert and Bonnie Witt-Schulte. The member at large is Mike Palmer.

"The selection of individuals to serve on the board to govern the Lawrence County 911 emergency and dispatch service has been a very difficult, strategic and, at times, daunting task," said Presiding Commissioner Bob Senninger. "We, the commissioners of Lawrence County, have not taken our responsibility of appointing members of this board lightly. We have considered the comments and opinions of many Lawrence countians, especially those who are direct stakeholder in this entire process.

"It is the consensus of this commission that the citizens of Lawrence desire to have the very best possible 911 emergency communication system possible," Senninger concluded.

Based on Missouri State Statute 190.335, the county commission is charged with appointing a seven-member board of directors, who in turn will become its own political entity.

The members of this board are responsible for carrying out the design, set-up and management of 911 response and all other dispatching for the entities of the county who rely on emergency dispatch and other like services.

The statute requires that there be three members from the Eastern District of the county and three from the Western District, with one individual chosen at large from either district. In addition, the statute indicates that there be representation from the sheriff's office, fire, ambulance/EMT, emergency management and municipalities.

"Considering those specific requirements and a number of well-qualified individuals to choose from, we believe that we have selected individuals who are very capable and highly motivated to plan, develop and implement the finest 911 dispatch center in all of southwest Missouri, located right here in Lawrence County," Senninger said. "We want to thank each one of those individuals for their willingness to serve."

These individuals will serve as the 911 board of directors from the time of their appointment and swearing in, until the April 2020 election is certified and those who have been elected are sworn in.

Those serving on the initial board, as well as any other citizen of Lawrence county, may file and run to be elected to the 911 board when filing opens for the April 2020 election. Those who choose to file must also choose the length of term for which he or she will run.