Okaloosa County Department of Corrections Director Stefan Vaughn will also serve as the county’s director of public safety following the resignation of former Public Safety Director Alvin Henderson.
Henderson announced his resignation, effective immediately, Tuesday morning to County Administrator John Hofstad and the County Commission, according to a news release.
It didn’t give a reason for Henderson’s resignation, which took effect only 10 days before the start of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. Henderson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
County officials said in the release that Vaughn “has the full confidence” of the commission “to lead the combined department due to his extensive operational and emergency management experience” during his time with the Department of Corrections and the county Sheriff’s Office.
Vaughn spent most of his 15 years with the Sheriff’s Office as an investigator. He told the Daily News on Monday that he and Henderson were both confirmed to their respective director roles by the commission in January 2016.
Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel told the Daily News on Monday that there had been “some issues of extreme overtime pay” for county paramedics with Henderson at the helm.
Early last year, Henderson had discussed with the commission his plan to save the county money by having paramedics work 12-hour shifts.
He had said that problems stemming from paramedics working 24-hour shifts included increased job burnout and higher risks of medical errors and on-the-job injuries.
Henderson implemented the change in shifts, “but it didn’t cost less,” Ketchel said. “There were a lot of questions about overtime (costs for paramedics), and that might have led to his resignation. We do not want to have to go to general fund revenue to cover the overtime.”
From about 2011 through 2015, the public safety director had oversight of corrections, emergency management, emergency medical services and 911 communications.
That model changed in January 2016 when the departments of public safety and corrections were created, Vaughn said.
According to his signed resignation agreement and general release, Henderson acknowledges that he is not entitled to any severance or termination benefits except for the following:
He will be placed on 30-day paid administrative leave, retroactive to Monday and ending June 20
During his paid leave, Henderson will be on call and available to help with the transition of his responsibilities
He may utilize his accrued annual leave at the end of the leave period
The county will continue to provide coverage to Henderson under its existing insurance plan(s) through the end of the annual leave period.
Henderson’s final salary with the county was $112,050, and Vaughn’s current salary is $105,955, according to county Human Resources Department information.