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Kemp named Bulloch County EMA director
Kemp named Bulloch County EMA director
Corey Kemp, left, hired by the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, will take over as full-time Bulloch County Emergency Management Agency director in mid-April from county Public Safety Division Director Randy Tillman, right. Tillman was been doubling as interim EMA director since the Jan. 31 retirement of Ted Wynn, who served in both roles. Al Hackle/Statesboro Herald

By Al Hackle, Statesboro Herald.

STATESBORO — Bulloch County commissioners chose a new Emergency Management Agency director with a unanimous vote last week.

Commissioners backed the recommendation to hire Corey Kemp as the new EMA director. He will start in mid-April.

Kemp, 43, brings state-agency experience from his most recent four years with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and familiarity with the county’s landscape and people from almost 17 years before that as an EMT with the Bulloch County Emergency Medical Service. A Bradwell Institute alumn, he has been a Bulloch resident since 2000.

His hiring completes the county government’s steps to fill two vacancies created by the retirement – announced in December but effective Jan. 31 – of Ted Wynn, who served as both public safety director and EMA director for 32 years. County Manager Tom Couch in December also announced the promotion of Randy Tillman, previously warden of Bulloch County Correctional Institution for five years, to be the county’s new Public Safety Division director. As Couch also announced at the time, after input from Wynn and Tillman, he separated the two roles, but the county EMA director is a state-defined position, and filling it required a vote of the elected governing board.

Tillman said the recommendation to hire Kemp followed interviews with several qualified candidates.

“He’s very well thought of by those who worked with him and know him,” Tillman said, “and certainly his last four years or so with GEMA we believe will be a big benefit as far as helping us prepare for the future with our emergency management operations.

“Our goal is to make it not just an agency based around events when they happen, but to be a full-time, year-round agency, better prepared for what may come in the future,” Tillman concluded.

Key GEMA role

Kemp served as a risk reduction specialist with GEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Division, with an office at the Georgia Southern campus, for the past four years. His experience, some of it part-time, as an emergency medical technician with Bulloch EMS preceded that. He attained a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Columbia Southern University and a Master of Public Administration from Savannah State University.

In his job with GEMA, Kemp helped communities develop, submit and manage projects in the hazard mitigation assistance programs and was the point of contact for communities in Southeast Georgia.

Kemp said he worked with Wynn, “a great man,” for “a very long time,” and is pleased to carry the EMA director’s role into the future.

“I’m just eager to get to work and happy to be here, back with the county,” Kemp said.

Although Wynn was Public Safety Division director all the time, his role as EMA director came to the forefront when the county Emergency Operations Center was activated in preparation and response to hurricanes and other storms and during the cleanup and recovery efforts that followed. He also carried out daily public information efforts and coordinated some mitigation steps through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked about the county staff’s intent to create a more proactive EMA, Kemp said he wants to make it a “Bulloch 1” agency, coordinating readiness and disaster response not just for the county government but with the four cities or towns and other agencies.

“My initial plan is just to create a Bulloch 1 to where its’s not just the county, but every community in Bulloch County is working together to be more resilient,” he said.

For continuity, the commissioners in January named Tillman interim EMA director until the new director could be hired and begin work. The chief, directors and warden of the Bulloch County Fire Department, EMS, EMA, Animal Services, the 911 Center, County Probation and BCCI will report to Tillman as Public Safety Division director.

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