LIMA — Tom Berger, formerly the emergency preparedness director for Allen County Public Health, has been hired as the new director for the Allen County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Managements effective Feb. 19.
Berger, 38, was approved for the position unanimously by the Allen County commissioners during their Tuesday agenda meeting. The Cincinnati native earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management from the University of Akron before spending the past seven years at Allen County Public Health.
“It was an intensive but quick process,” commissioner Jay Begg said during the meeting.
Berger said will not come into the position with a set agenda, looking instead to take time to get acclimated to his new responsibilities left to him by Ohio Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Russ Decker.
“There are no real goals at this point,” he said. “For the first couple of weeks and months, I’ll be getting my wheels underneath me and getting to know the position that Russ has left to me. It’s a blessing following someone as well-respected in the state and nation as Russ.”
Already having experience with area emergency response personnel in his current position, Berger looks forward to working more closely with them as director.
“I think we have some of the best trained first responders in the state,” he said. “I’ve worked with them over the past seven years, most recently on the Ebola situation that we dealt with throughout Ohio. I have a good working relationships with many of the chiefs in our county.”
Bath Township Fire Chief Joseph Kitchen applauded the appointment, happy to see the position filled by someone already living in the community.
“Tom and I have worked together on some pandemic flu planning and Tom led the response to the Ebola concern, and he did a nice job on that,” he said. “All the local fire chiefs will do everything we can to help get him up to speed and bring him into the public safety circle here in Allen County.”