A move has been made to better organize a slow-moving effort, at least so far, to bring a true emergency 911 phone system to Garvin County.

The measure overwhelmingly passed by county voters in February now has a committee to get things going.

All that’s needed are members for that committee.

All three commissioners voted Monday to officially form a nine-member 911 committee, which will ultimately answer to the commissioners themselves.

“I make a motion we form a nine-person committee,” District 3 Commissioner Johnny Mann said while adding that number was chosen because it increases the chances of a quorum for each of the committee meetings.

The motion drew the support of fellow commissioners Kenneth Holden and Shon Richardson.

Mann said a committee was chosen because it will be overseen by the commissioners.

In contrast, a 911 authority would be independent and serve as the overseeing body itself for the county-wide system.

With all the commissioners agreeing that three members will come from each of the three districts they oversee, Richardson suggested those appointees be emergency responders, which are basically law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics.

This idea, although only a recommendation, was later turned into an approved motion, along with the very first person to help organize the committee itself.

“The second motion I would like to recommend is appointing a chairperson by us,” Mann said. “The person I have in mind is David Johnson.”

Johnson is currently the fire chief of the volunteer fire department in nearby Walker.

“Right now this is on an interim basis,” Mann said about Johnson’s role as chairperson.

“He will help get the committee up and going,” he said.

Mann told the group he anticipated making Johnson one of his three appointees to the committee.

All the commissioners are expected to bring with them the names of other possible committee members during a regular meeting next week.

“This committee gets everything off the ground,” said George Burnett, one of three assistant district attorneys in Garvin County.

“But it’s the county commissioners who will make the final decisions on 911 in the county,” he said.

The assistant D.A. added the public itself will have two levels of participation in the 911 system — the committee meetings and the commissioners.

Yet another official, County Clerk Gina Mann, stressed the need for a committee has grown in recent days because of the situations popping up on the 911 idea that need some decisions soon.

“We have money starting to come in. We have situations that need to be resolved,” she said.

“Either have a committee deal with these situations or you will have to,” she told the commissioners.

The county clerk also informed the group the first funds for this future countywide 911 system are starting to filter in to county coffers.

“We just got our first check for wireless,” Mann said, adding the total is about $8,000.

That total is now combined with about $5,200 in fees already collected for the system from land line phones in the county.

Those funds come from a 15 percent fee added to the base rate of monthly phone bills and 50 cents per month for cell phones in the county.

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