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New county Emergency Manager comes from Sheriff's Department

Brian Halbasch

Hubbard County hired an Emergency Manager Wednesday with little fanfare and a relatively quick vote.

Part-time deputy, jailer and dispatcher Brian Halbasch will take the helm of the county's emergency preparedness efforts. The office will be absorbed into the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department and not be a separate entity, with Sheriff Frank Homer in charge.

Halbasch will be elevated to a full-time employee.

"Assigning it to the Sheriff's Office is a good idea, a good fit to take on," Halbasch told the board.

He said he wants to start finding grant money and one priority will be to "get our mobile command center operable" in case the county does have a bona fide emergency.

The county also needs to draft a hazard mitigation plan, and county board members said it should be done in-house. That is the key to obtaining grant funds.

The particulars of how the job will be structured were left to the sheriff to work out, but Halbasch must work at least 20 hours per week at Emergency Management duties to receive the state Homeland Security salary supplement of $16,000.

There was some discussion about what to pay Halbasch, but it was decided he will receive the Emergency Manager's salary for approximately half time and his deputy's salary for the hours he works in that department. The salaries are comparable.

"It's not what we pay him, it's what he can do for us," board chair Lyle Robinson said. He suggested the county re-name the position "utility infielder."

The tricky part is that his duties as a deputy are union; the EM job is not.

The hire was effective immediately.

Halbasch has been on the force since 2007, serving in a variety of capacities. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix Online, an accredited college, and an associate's degree in criminal justice from Northland Community College in Thief River Falls.

From 2002 to 2007, he was in the U.S. Air Force Security Forces. He said his military background in security training would be an asset in his current duties.

"He has the energy to do the job," Homer told the board. "He was excited to maintain this position. There's money out there and we've gotta get on board."

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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