County Council Confirms New Emergency Management Director
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communication News
Volusia County has been searching for a new emergency management director, which led them to Monroe County and the home of the Florida Keys – where they know a thing or two about storm response and emergency preparedness.
On Tuesday, the County Council confirmed Helene Wetherington, disaster recovery director for Monroe County, as Volusia’s next emergency management director. Wetherington replaces former Emergency Management Director Jim Judge, who retired in January.
Her start date is May 17.
According to a release, Wetherington brings more than 20 years of expertise to the job in local, state, federal, and international emergency preparedness, planning, response, and recovery. She has been the disaster recovery director for Monroe County since 2018, where she has been coordinating long-term recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Before that, Wetherington’s experience includes serving as assistant director of the Palm Beach County Division of Emergency Management, a planner with the Florida Coastal Management Program, area coordinator and community assistance consultant for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and emergency management services director for Calvin, Giordano & Associates, Inc. Between 2014-2016, she served as the disaster management advisor to the Caribbean Overseas Territories for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“We’re very lucky to have attracted such a great candidate,” County Manager George Recktenwald said Tuesday in bringing his choice of Wetherington to the council for confirmation.
The incoming director has been an instructor of FEMA courses and for various educational institutions and is certified as an emergency manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers and an assessor for the National Emergency Management Accreditation Program.
Wetherington, who holds dual master’s degrees in public administration from Florida Atlantic University and planning from Florida State University, told the council that she’s excited for the opportunity to build on Volusia County’s well-regarded emergency management program.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to pick up on this program and hopefully enhance it in some areas,” Wetherington said. “I hope we can build a stronger, better, and safer Volusia County.”