Juanice Gray | Editor
Kim Tolliver was named the new 911 Communications District Director during a special meeting Tuesday, June 29. She resides in Shreveport, has 22 years experience with the Shreveport fire department and has been their Director of Communications for the last five. She oversaw 46 employees and managed a $4.9 million budget. Ironically, she was hired 22 years ago by Willis Carter, whom she will succeed as Director in Natchitoches.
“She worked her way up through the ranks and holds the same position I did when I came here,” Carter said. She will start here July 1.
Tolliver said Natchitoches is the next step in her career. For the time being she will commute, as Carter has done for a decade, but relocating to the area is “not off the table.” She said Natchitoches offered her the opportunity for growth and professional development.
Among her duties are public relations. She said she routinely speaks to schools, civic and other groups. To prepare for her position, she said she read all the meeting minutes from 2011 until now. She said the next goal for the district should be operational, how to move forward, and looking at policies and procedures. “We need a goal set on where we want to go,” Tolliver said.
New to the area, she said she has visited the parish, but not extensively and getting to know the layout of the roads and communities is “imperative.” Chairman John Wynn stated copies of Tolliver’s employment was provided to all commissioners prior to the meeting to provide ample time for thorough review.
Chairman Larry Atteridge stated, “Everyone knows I felt relatively uncomfortable with the contract, but I do believe she’s the perfect person for the job.” The vote was unanimous to hire her at a base salary of $110,000 plus benefits for an estimated total of $159,000.
In preparation of the change of the guard, the Times reached out to Carter recently to see the status of the District as the new director takes the reins.
Q; How is the District’s overall financial state compared to 2010?
Carter: A quick look back at District finances indicates that the District’s net cash position from that of 2010 and 2020 has shown a gain of approximately $237,000. Also, in 2010 District assets were under $400,000. In 2021 assets were over $4,000,000. The District currently owns certificates of deposits valued at just over $1,000,000, and it has approximately $450,000 in cash operating reserves. It is important to note however that of this total; $500,000 is designated for NG911 enhancements, $250,000 is earmarked for Capital Outlay Project matching funds, and $475,000 is set aside for Emergency Contingency funds in the event of a catastrophic event that impacted revenues. That leaves the unassigned actual cash reserve currently at approximately $200,000.
Q: Does the District see a need for additional staff in the near future?
Carter: Staff requirements will obviously be driven by management and operational decisions that are yet to be made. However, GIS and Mapping services offered by the District can be greatly improved with the addition of a staff position with a focus on GIS, and Mapping network management. Another likely needed position, if the District decides that it wants to take a more active role in public safety call taking and deployment will be that of an Operations Manager who will help to synchronize call taking and deployment policy and procedure to ensure a more synchronized and systematic approach to public safety agency responses.
Q: Will the District be able to absorb the cost of these additional positions, in addition to the additional expenses associated with the proposed salary package for a new Executive Director without using unassigned or dedicated funds?
Carter: Decisions regarding future staffing is best left with the new Executive Director and should be contingent upon a well vetted plan of action to move forward. That being said, it is a fact that the net annual revenue over expenses for 2020 was approximately $183,000 according to the most recent external audit. Past audits indicate that the average net annual revenue over expenses over a five-year period that did not involve “above normal” expenses appears to be slightly over $100,000 annually. With that number in mind, the anticipated additional cost associated with the new Executive Director position alone is estimated to be approximately $74,000 annually.
Q: There has been discussion about your willingness to provide limited support to the new Executive Director, what is your position on this issue?
Carter: I made my intentions not to renew my professional services contract, which expired Nov. 1, 2020, clear at the October 2020 Commission meeting. At that time however, I agreed to remain in my position until July 1, 2021 in an effort to afford a smooth transition for a replacement Executive Director. That was almost eight months ago. Notwithstanding further discussion, July 1 will be my last day operating under my current professional services contract agreement.