Marilyn Anderson

Marilyn Anderson

A new director for the Sumner County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) has been chosen.

Marilyn Anderson of Oxon Hill, Md. accepted the position to lead the multi-million-dollar facility on Friday, Aug. 30. She was among three finalists interviewed by the ECC’s executive committee last month.

“I believe that we’ve hired a very qualified candidate to become our new ECC director,” said Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown who also serves as chair of the center’s executive committee. “We think she is the best for the job and will be the best fit for the department. We’re very excited about welcoming her.”

Anderson currently serves as the first vice president of the Mid-Eastern Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO). She has worked in the public safety industry for more than 17 years and most recently served as the director of public safety communications for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority from January 2015 until November 2018.

She is a certified emergency communications technician through the State of Maryland and has completed her Associate of Applied Science Degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University.

“I am very excited,” Anderson said about the job when contacted by telephone Tuesday. “This is a larger consolidated center that will be a new environment for me and a totally different atmosphere. It offers a new and exciting challenge for me, but I believe I’m up for it and I’m eager to give it a try.”

Anderson is expected to start in her new role on or before Dec. 2. Her starting salary will be $105,000.

Since opening in July 2017, the ECC has been responsible for dispatching all of the county’s police, fire and emergency personnel from a centralized location in Gallatin. Participants include the cities of Hendersonville, Gallatin, Portland, Westmoreland and Millersville as well as Sumner County.

In March, county leaders began searching from a new director after the center’s former director and deputy director resigned abruptly amid growing concerns surrounding delayed emergency response times and high dispatcher turnover in January.

The departures became effective the same day officials were scheduled to discuss a report outlining “serious allegations” from former employees regarding a “chaotic” and sometimes “hostile” or toxic work environment. 

Since then, a transition team lead by Hendersonville Police Commander Paul Harbsmeier has been in charge of management of the ECC until a new director

“Certainly, the issues that existed prior to (Harbsmeier’s) arrival have been largely eliminated,” Brown said. “Turnover has certainly declined, and I think we’re going to continue to see improvements and much success from that center.”

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