Cowley County Emergency Communications (CCEC) Director Carl Fortner no longer is employed by the county after he tendered his resignation Thursday, according to County Administrator Lucas Goff.
“The Emergency Communications Department provides a valuable service for the citizens and response agencies of the communities, and Cowley County is dedicated to continue that service without interruption,” Goff said in an email Thursday afternoon.
For the time being, Cowley County Emergency Management Director Brian Stone will serve as interim CCEC director.
The county will begin the recruitment process for Fortner’s replacement in the near future. “We will be reaching out to the (Emergency Communications Advisory Board) community to help (during the process),” Goff said.
“I would ask for your patience and understanding as we make some changes in this transition, to prepare both our community partners and our internal staffing for the next director to come aboard,” he added in an email addressed to emergency response chiefs countywide.
Fortner and his department were the subjects of a series of investigative articles written by Ark City Daily Bytes.
The investigative series was launched after the Cowley County consolidated 911 dispatch center came under heated scrutiny during a meeting of the City Commission of Arkansas City. After the meeting, Ark City Daily Bytes requested and inspected numerous emails between city and county officials, spanning more than a year and a half, in order to verify claims made that night.
The findings of the investigation were shared in the series of articles, which can be found here:
- Part 1: Consolidated 911 dispatch issues highlighted in series of public emails
- Part 2: Vote on MDT software exposes schisms on 911 ECAB advisory board
- Part 3: Request for increased officer safety turns into dispatch funding discussion
- Part 4: Friction seen in disputes between county, rural fire over call sign, pagers
- Part 5: EMS removal from ECAB, sub-committee formation raise questions
- Part 6: Disagreement over 911 control, ECAB raises federal compliance concerns
- Part 7: HIPAA interpretation leads to incomplete information in police CAD calls
- Part 8: Three serious errors raise questions about dispatcher training, precision