New county emergency management director on tap

PORT TOWNSEND — An emergency management official now working in Everett is in line to replace Bob Hamlin as the director of Jefferson County’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM).

The Jefferson County commissioners today will consider approval of an employment agreement with Lynn Sterbenz, who was “the top pick from a field of 15 candidates,” said County Administrator Philip Morley.

Her salary would be $75,509 annually plus benefits.

Commissioners will consider the hiring as a part of their consent agenda during their regular meeting at 9 a.m. today at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St.

Hamlin will retire Dec. 31, after leading the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management for 17 years.

He has worked in emergency management for 46 years, Morley said.

Sterbenz is expected to start work Dec. 5, overlapping with the final few weeks of Hamlin’s time with the department.

Sterbenz, who has worked since 2012 as the public education coordinator for Everett, stepped in as logistics section chief during the first two weeks of major emergency response to the Oso landslide in 2014, Morley said.

That experience and her time before 2012 as planning and operations coordinator for Everett’s Office of Emergency Management, set her apart from the other applicants, Morley said.

She developed an emergency management plan for the city of Everett, upgraded the emergency operations center and conducted large-scale education and training exercises, Morley said.

Sterbenz was one of four finalists who went through three interviews with citizen neighborhood preparedness groups and social services staff; county and city incident management teams; and a panel made up of Morley, County Commissioner Kathleen Kler, Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson and Keppie Keplinger, public information officer for the Department of Emergency Management.

Sterbenz earned a master’s of professional studies in homeland security from Penn State, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alaska, has worked in emergency management for the cities of Redmond and Langley and as a wildland firefighter in Alaska for four years while attending college.

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