Richland County recently appointed a recovery chief to aid residents in rebuilding and lead the County’s efforts to reestablish infrastructure and restore services after the devastating October flooding.
As recovery chief, Michael King will coordinate all communication and disaster recovery efforts for the County. King, assistant director for the Emergency Services Division and a longtime public safety professional, was instrumental in the County’s emergency planning efforts prior to the flood, during the event and immediately following.
King assumes his duties at a critical time as the County transitions from responding to daily flood emergencies to helping residents and the County move forward.
“Mr. King has a wealth of knowledge that will help in the recovery phase,” said County Administrator Tony McDonald. “In this new role, he will oversee and manage the County’s day-to-day recovery operations.”
From the start of the of the historic flood event, King, a crew of County staff and representatives of various community organizations gathered in the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to, among other things, monitor weather and road conditions, assist first responders, field calls from the public and start laying the foundation for recovery efforts.
“This was an unprecedented event for our County,” said Michael Byrd, director of the County’s Emergency Services Division. “The team in the EOC did a great job behind the scenes to ensure the people out in the field had what they needed to respond and help disaster victims – and Mr. King will be working to ensure our recovery operations run just as smoothly.”
King retired from the Ohio State Highway Patrol after 25 years of service. During his tenure, he was recognized as Ohio State Trooper of the Year and was selected as the American Legion 40/8 National Police Officer of the Year.
He attended the FBI National Academy, in Quantico, Va., and received his Bachelor of Arts in organizational management from Bluffton University in Ohio. Upon his retirement from the patrol, King continued to pursue his passion for public safety, serving as 911 Communications Center director in Ohio and South Carolina, assistant city manager for public safety for Columbia, and in his current role at Richland County.
King and his wife, Betty, live in Richland County and have children and grandchildren in Ohio.
King took on a somewhat fatherly role in the EOC during the height of the flood event. Gathering team members around a table for a daily “hot wash” meeting, he got input on different aspects of the County’s response and recovery efforts to solidify a daily plan of action.
Each hot wash ended with King’s daily charge: “Let’s work the mission!”
The mission now is getting Richland County back to normal.
“Mr. King has shown a real commitment for helping people,” said Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush. “With his leadership, we’re getting things back on track for our residents.”