County’s Emergency Management draws more than one salary

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Danny Manley took the office of Pearl River County Emergency Management Director in the middle of an upheaval in county government.

However, he didn’t give up all of his previous employment. In addition to holding the office of Emergency Management Director, Manley continues his work as the Regional Response Team Trainer for the Office of Homeland Security through Hancock County, raising the question in some minds of whether or not his dual employment is legal. He now also is being paid part of his Pearl River County salary from the county’s building code department.

District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee says the work Manley does for Homeland Security does not interfere with his position as Emergency Director, and that the decision to hire Manley came after careful research into the legality of the situation.

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“We looked at it from every angle. We know Danny is capable, and although he is still working with Homeland Security, that work is done after hours and on weekends,” Lee said.

Lee said Manley’s dual employment can benefit the county in that Manley can use his contacts through Homeland Security to obtain grants and monies for the county that might not normally be available.

“Danny is in a position as Emergency Director where he is required to meet with Homeland Security often. Instead of the county paying for that, it is now paid for by that office, because he also works for them,” Lee said.

In an e-mail provided to the Item by Lee, Penny Corn, grant director for the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, addressed the problem of Manley’s dual employment. The e-mail was in response to a question by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors about Manley’s dual employment, drawing two federal salaries as RRT trainer and as County EMA director.

“Since it is two separate government agencies that Danny’s being paid from: One as a contractual employee of Hancock County’s RRT Program and the other as an employee of Pearl River County then he can continue to be paid with grant funds in his RRT capacity,” the e-mail reads.

The e-mail also states, “If the contractor/consultant (trainer) in question is not an employee of the same agency it does not matter that the salary/fee is drawn from more than one federal source.”

Manley said he does not see his dual employment as a problem, because he never logs time for both positions at the same time.

“I can’t be working for two entities at the same time. I have to be off from one to do the other. I also can’t use county resources for my work with Homeland Security or vice versa. I’m contracted with Homeland Security, which means I only get paid by them when I do work for them, and I only do work for them at nights and on weekends when I’m not working for the county,” Manley said.

Manley also now receives part of his salary from Pearl River County from another source. The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors voted to increase Manley’s salary by using his training and experience with wind and fire to serve as an advisor for the county’s building code department.

Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero said the decision to increase Manley’s salary stemmed from a number of reasons.

“Our priority in the building code department is wind and fire. It will provide a huge savings to the department if we can use a percentage of Danny’s time to advise us on issues dealing with those topics. He will still have to study the building codes, but it will ultimately save money for the county instead of having to go out and hire someone else,” Pinero said.

Manley said he thinks his experience will be an asset to the county building code department.

“I’m the former Fire Marshal for the city of Picayune. I know that certain questions come up with the codes, especially with fire and wind issues. I will advise on the fire and wind-related code questions,” Manley said.

Pinero said another reason for the increase in Manley’s salary is because he is the lowest-paid Emergency Director in the lower six counties, a statement with which Manley agreed.

“Most of the other lower six counties have an Emergency Management Director and a Fire Coordinator, which is the norm. Both of those positions make more than I do right now, and I’m filling both of those positions for Pearl River County at this time,” Manley said.