Benson resigns county EMA post

Mindy Benson

On the heels of one of the most challenging years for public safety in recent memory, Tama County will be in search of a new Emergency Management Coordinator.

The Tama County Emergency Management Commission accepted the resignation of Mindy Benson during a meeting on Feb. 9.

Benson started work in Tama County during the fall of 2013 and up until 2020, served as both the Emergency Management Coordinator and the E-911 Director for the county.

Last year the Emergency Management and E-911 departments split into separate departments with Benson heading the EMA department and Jeremy Cremeans coming on as the Communications Director and heading the 911 department.

In recent years, Benson has coordinated disaster response efforts for Tama County during flooding in early 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 and the derecho storm in August of 2020.

During her time living and working in Tama County, Benson also ran for public office. In 2018 she won a four-person Democratic primary for the Iowa House of Representatives and later that year challenged incumbent Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) in the November general election.

Benson fell short in her election bid and remained in her post with Tama County as the board of supervisors were just beginning to seriously discuss a major replacement of the county-wide emergency radio system.

In working with the county’s E-911 Board through late 2018 and all of 2019, Benson coordinated the plan to replace the county’s radio system which is over 20 years old.

The board of supervisors ultimately took up the $6.7 million emergency and law enforcement radio improvement project and later this year hope to see it to completion with the new RACOM system getting activated and taking over from the old system currently in use.

In Benson’s letter of resignation she indicated she was leaving to take a job as the Black Hawk County Emergency Management Coordinator.

She becomes the second department head within Tama County to resign their position in the past two months as former Conservation Director Logan Roberts resigned in December to take a job with the Iowa DNR.

After some discussion on whether or not to continue the EMA Coordinator position full-time, the EMA Commission voted to post the job as a full-time position with a preference toward candidates with prior 911 experience among other qualifications.

The county has been accepting applications over the past couple weeks with a deadline of Feb. 26.

The next scheduled meeting for the EMA Commission set for March 9.