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Not An Applicant

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 4322

Posted by: RStokes
Date: Mar 28 2013 10:29 AM

DOTHAN – HOUSTON COUNTY:     Today is the last day – closing time is 4:30 PM.

Houston County Personnel Director Sherri Thompson is collecting resume applications for the position of Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management Director. The closing date for accepting resume applications is today at 4:30 PM.

In May the current EMA Director, Clark Matthews, will retire.  Matthews came to Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management 10 years ago when he retired from Ft. Rucker Fire Department. Matthews was hired as Deputy Director for Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management after his federal retirement. Then about six years ago, then EMA Director Shelby Womack retired. The Houston County Commissioners serving at that time promoted Matthews to EMA Director without giving anyone a chance to submit application.

Since that time two of the former Houston County Commissioners lost re-election and the third passed away. This commission made the choice to advertise and seek resume applications for EMA Director.

Following the closing of the acceptance of applications, the commission will review and interview the applicants. The commission desires somewhere around April 15 to have someone hired in order for them to work with Matthews some before his final day.

The current Deputy Director of Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management, Steve Carlise is one of the applicants. Carlisle, who worked with Matthews at Ft. Rucker Fire, retired from Rucker himself and was hired by Matthews as Deputy Director.  At this time we do not know who any other applicants are.


Six years ago when Shelby Womack was retiring I wanted to be the next Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management Director. However I got to know Matthews before Womack officially announced his retirement.

Before I knew the Commission was going to force hire Matthews, I decided for myself Matthews should be promoted and I would apply for Deputy Director.

Matthews and I spent many hours talking about EMA. I applied for the position.

A lady in Abbeville told me Steve Carlisle was applying and had been promised the job. Matthews denied that. I fell for it.

Based on our hours of conversations about EMA and plans, based on conversations with Chairman Mark Culver, I thought I was going to get the job of Deputy Director. Based on the representation to me, I even allowed one of my bondsman to do a working buy in of ownership of the bail bonding company. That was to have someone with a vested ownership managing the day to day operation while I was at EMA.

The lady in Abbeville was correct. Matthews hired his former working buddy as Deputy Director.

Because I was lied to, it hurt me deeply even to the point that I even cried at 40 something years old over the job.

Then a part time EMA job was discussed. I was told I was going to get it. At the time Lamar Glover was Sheriff and Don McMullan was Sheriff Commander. They both told me I was being lied to. Guess what, they were correct.

Sometimes it still bothers me the friends would intentionally lie and deceive me, however, it is not the first and will not the be the last. I am over it and harbor no ill will.

My passion is emergency service and law enforcement. That is where I was raised beginning at age 15. I enjoy emergency services and gave up things and people in my life because of that passion.

We fast forward until now. I had thought until Monday that I would apply for Dothan – Houston County EMA Director.  With the current commission, with my experience and passion. I think I would stand a  very good chance for “honest” consideration for the job.

However, that the question of how good of a chance I would have for honest consideration will never be answered. The reason is, I AM NOT APPLYING.

Until Monday of this week my intentions were to apply for the job. Last Thursday I went to Montgomery which gave me 4 hours of time alone to think. This past Saturday I went to Jackson Alabama which gave me 8 hours alone to think.

After thinking and some words of wisdom from two people of which I respect their thoughts, I decided not to apply. I have the desire and passion for emergency service and feel that I have something to offer to make services to the citizens better.

However, over the years I have been able to get successful. I have been able to make some positive changes, and have been able to stand in the gap and fight for people where the system has been running over them. I honestly feel that my efforts where I am at are better for my calling than it would be as Emergency Management Director.

As Emergency Management Director I would become part of “them” rather than remaining “the people”.  So when someone needs some help because the big monster system is running over and attempting to destroy lives and careers, I would have to shut up because I would be a part of the big monster. The system would have control and domination over me if I was Emergency Management Director when now they do not.

We have had the big monster run over people in Dothan and Houston County. One of those served as Dothan Police Chief. That person, with the assistance of Dothan City Manager Mike West and the enabling factor of the Dothan Commission at the time, destroyed lives with careers within the department. AS EMA Director, I would have had to remain silent.

Now I can stand in the gap for those who can not.

Six years ago I literally cried because I was betrayed. While tomorrow I will kick myself for a few hours for letting the opportunity pass, I am comfortable after much prayer, thought, and discussion that my decision to continue the path I am traveling, improve the path I am traveling, is the right way.

My original goal in life was to be Sheriff of Houston County. I know that will never happen. I realize I had a goal of Emergency Management Director. At age 52, I realize passing this opportunity that will never happen.

But remaining where I am and the path forward and plans for the future, this is where I am to be. And I assure, there are no positions, appointed or elected that I  want. EMA was the final one and I am willingly letting that chance pass.

While emergency service is my passion, fighting for those who can not, helping those who need help, is also my passion.

Thanks for letting me state my thoughts. To those who want to be critical of these thoughts, they are written from my heart and honest.

I wish Steve Carlisle and all applicants good luck!

PICTURE A -   This was the old dispatch in the Houston County Jail in the late 1970's. This building is now the Houston County Sheriff Department.

PICTURE B -   This is in the old docket room of the Houston County Jail in the late 1970's. This building is now the Houston County Sheriff Department. I am pictured with Lucy Williams. Lucy went on to be the Jail Commander for several years before she retired.

PICTURE C -  In the late 1970's in front of the what is now the Houston County Sheriff Department. The Houston County Sheriff was A.B. Clark.

PICTURE D - Taken in the late 1970's. A Houston County Sheriff Patrol Car.

PICTURE E - When I was sworn in as Houston County Coroner by Circuit Judge Jerry White. I was 21 years old when elected and sworn in on my 22nd birthday. 

Rickey Stokes

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