GLANDORF - A gradual transition of leadership at the Office of Public Safety will take place starting officially at the end of the month.

Last month, the Putnam County Commissioners approved the retirement transition submission made by Steve Odenweller, director of the Office of Public Safety. They then re-employed Odenweller under a three-year contract as a 'retirement transition employee' to the same position. The position will be full-time initially and become part-time thereafter.
Odenweller said he will transition to part-time in February 2014. The contract states that Odenweller agrees to initially work full-time and then agrees to a reduction of work hours resulting in part-time employment at a point in time acceptable to both employer and employee.

Odenweller said he is currently working with Anita Stechschulte, the EMS chief, to provide the skills she will need to take over as the director of the Office of Public Safety.

"She is required to have certain certifications before she can be qualified as a director," Odenweller explained, stating that she is currently working to acquire those certifications.

Odenweller reported that next year he and Stechschulte will begin to transition their duties, one to the other. "I will take on some of the duties she has as EMS chief and she will be taking on duties as the director," Odenweller said.

The director is over the EMS, Emergency Management Association (EMA) and Local Emergency Planning Commission (LPC). Most of the director's salary comes from the EMA duties, a grant program that goes through the Putnam County general fund.

According to the commissioners, the reduction in hours for Odenweller will result in a saving of over $47,000. Odenweller said this savings will come primarily from his gradual reduction in hours.

Odenweller indicated by the third year that he will be working part-time while Stechschulte serves as the director.

Putnam County Commissioner John Love said that this is part of the county's ongoing transitional program that assists in replacing retiring directors in different offices.

Odenweller has been an EMS worker for 30 years and has served as the director of the Office of Public Safety since 1990.

He also works part-time with Life Flight. Earlier this year he assisted the Hancock County Hanco Ambulance Service while they were in a transition of hiring their own director. Hanco hired a chief in June.

"I haven't helped them out since last summer," Odenweller said.