New 911 director hired for Arenac County
ARENAC COUNTY — After searching for a replacement for retiring 911 director Steve Wuelfing since late August, the Arenac County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to hire Rose City resident Chris Barbb as the new director Sept. 18.
The board voted 5-0 to hire Barbb as the new director and have him start his new position Sept. 24.
According to board chairman Mike Snyder, Barbb’s past work experience, including working as a assistant police chief in Melvindale, Mich., was a big selling point in the decision to hire Barbb.
“One thing we were impressed with was the significant wealth of experience he brings,” Snyder said. “We were very impressed to see that he had experience working in a call center and that he had some experience working with the Detroit Police.”
Snyder said another key factor was that Barbb has previous experience operating the new radio system the county recently switched to.
According to Snyder, the commissioners had final say on the hire, but a interviewing committee made up of Snyder, fellow commissioner Virginia Zygiel, Wuelfing, Undersheriff Don McIntyre and Au Gres-Sims-Whitney Fire Chief Kurt Humerickhouse picked 11 candidates for the position, interviewing the top three candidates before making Barbb their choice to present to the commissioners for vote.
“We felt like we covered the whole gamut of services that would be affected by this decision,” Snyder said. “We looked at candidates from both our local area and outside candidates and we would have liked to get a candidate who was more local, but we voted more for credentials rather than residence.”
He said with Wuelfing staying on until he officially retires Nov. 26, Barbb will be working with Wuelfing up until that date to help Barbb get acclimated to the county and people he will be serving.
“Because of the technical nature of the position, we thought it was important to get whoever we hired in as soon a possible, so that they could work with Steve,” Snyder said. “Chris has a lot of people to meet and a lot of things to coordinate. The sooner we were able to get him in here, the better off we’ll be once Steve officially retires.”