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E911 director leaving Sept. 1

[05/24/01] Lynn Marsalis announced Wednesday morning that he will step down as director of Emergency 911 services in Warren County.

Marsalis, 61, made the announcement during the Vicksburg Warren 911 Commission’s monthly meeting.

“I am ready to retire,” Marsalis said.

A 40-acre farm in Benton County and the chance to be closer to relatives, he said, were the determining factors. “It is just time for me to move on,” Marsalis said.

Vicksburg Fire Chief Kevin Westbrook said Marsalis has done a good job for the city and county.

“It is going to be really hard to replace him, but we support his decision,” Westbrook said.

As director of E911, Marsalis oversees the hiring and training of dispatchers and scheduling of personnel and maintenance for the local system’s equipment. Voters here approved the advanced center 12 years ago and pay for it through charges on their monthly telephone bills. In turn, E911 operations are managed by the commission composed of local officials.

Marsalis’ departure, Westbrook said, is a loss for the public and 911. “He has brought 911 to a higher standard, and he has always taken the ball and run with it,” he said.

Beginning Thursday, the commission plans to start advertising for the $27,000-a-year position, Westbrook said.

“We will take applications, conduct the interviews and then go from there,” he said.

Marsalis, who has overseen the 14 dispatchers at the center for 3 1/2 years, said he expects his last day to be Sept. 1.

“I want to help make the transition for the new director as seamless as possible,” he said.

Westbrook said Marsalis’ willingness to stick around and help is just another example of his thoroughness.

“He has always been a strong leader, and this is just another example of that,” Westbrook said.

Other commission members are Emergency Management Director L.W. Callaway III, chairman; Police Chief Mitchell Dent, Warren Sheriff Martin Pace, Mayor Robert Walker, District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale and Warren County Volunteer Fire Department Coordinator Kelly Worthy.